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University of California Berkeley 

Gift of 

Elisa Scaparoni 


ROBin fcOOD 




The road wound in and about the forest, and at noon they 
came to a part where the trees nigh shut out the sky 


"Catch him by the middle," he shouted. "Now you have 
him, lording, fairly. Throw him prettily!" And sure enough 
Stuteley came down 


But Robin, venturing all, drew nigh. He came to the edge of 
her box, and began to speak 



Their arrows flew together, marvellous shots, each finding 
its prey 


At last he made a dart upon Roger and the chase grew furi 
ous. Dishes, plates, covers, pots and pans all that came hi 
the way of them went flying 

The beggar dealt his foe a back-thrust so neatly, so heartily, 
and so swiftly that Nat was swept off the stage into the crowd 
as a fly off a table 


That evening, whilst Monceux raged and stormed without, 
they all sat to a great feast 


Leaning heavily against Little John's sobbing breast, Robin 
Hood flew his last arrow out through the window, far away 
into the deep green of trees 





< ' "IT *W T"ELL, Robin, on what folly do you employ your- 

%/ %/ self? Do you cut sticks for our fire o' mornings?" 
Thus spoke Master Hugh Fitzooth, King's 
Ranger of the Forest at Locksley, as he entered his house. 

Robin flushed a little. "These are arrows, sir," he an 
nounced, holding one up for inspection. 

Dame Fitzooth smiled upon the boy as she rose to meet 
her lord. "What fortune do you bring us to-day, father?" 
asked she, cheerily. 

Fitzooth's face was a mask of discontent. "I bring my 
self, dame," answered he, "neither more nor less." 

"Surely that is enough for Robin and me!" laughed his 
wife. "Come, cast off your shoes, and give me your bow 
and quiver. I have news for you, Hugh, even if you have 
none for us. George of Gamewell has sent his messenger 
to-day, and bids me bring Robin to him for the Fair." She 
hesitated to give the whole truth. 

"That cannot be," began the Ranger, hastily; then 
checked himself. "What wind is it that blows our Squire's 
friendship toward me, I wonder?" he went on. "Do we owe 
him toll?" 

"You are not fair to George Montfichet, Hugh he is an 



open, honest man, and he is my brother." The dame spoke 
with spirit, being vexed that her husband should thus slight 
her item of news. "That Montfichet is of Norman blood is 
sufficient to turn your thoughts of him as sour as old milk " 

"I am as good as all the Montfichets and De Veres here 
about, dame, for all I am but plain Saxon," returned Fitzooth, 
crossly, "and the day may come when they shall know it. 
Athelstane the Saxon might make full as good a King, when 
Henry dies, as Richard of Acquitaine, with his harebrained 
notions and runagate religion. There would be bobbing of 
heads and curtseying to us then, if you like. Squire George 
of Gamewell would be sending messengers for me cap in hand 
doubt it not." 

"For that matter, there is ready welcome for you now at 
my brother's house," said Mistress Fitzooth, repenting of her 
sharpness at once. "Montfichet bade us all to Gamewell; 
but here is his scroll, and you may read it for yourself." She 
took a scroll from her bosom as she spoke and offered it to her 

He returned to the open door that he might read it. His 
brow puckered itself as he strove to decipher the flourished 
Norman writing. "I have no leisure now for this screed, 
mother; read it to me later, an you will." 

His tone was kinder again, for he saw how Robin had been 
busying himself in these last few moments. "Let us sup, 
mother. I dare swear we all are hungry after the heat of the 

"I have made and tipped a full score of arrows, sir; 
will you see them?" asked Robin. 



"That will I, so soon as I have found the bottom of this 
pasty. Sit yourselves, mother and Robin, and we'll chatter 

Robin helped his mother to kindle the flax whereby the 
dim and flickering tapers might be lighted. His fingers were 
more deft at this business, it would seem, than in the making 
of arrows. Fitzooth, in the intervals of his eating, took up 
Robin's arrows one by one and had some shrewd gibe ready for 
most of them. Of the score only five were allowed to pass; 
the rest were tossed contemptuously into the black hearth on 
to the little heap of smouldering fire. 

"By my heart, Robin, but I shall never make a proper 
bowman of you ! Were ever such shafts fashioned to fit across 
cord and yew!" 

"The arrows are pretty enough, Hugh," interposed the 

"There 'tis!" cried Fitzooth, triumphantly. "The true 
bowman's hand showeth not in the prettiness of an arrow, 
mother, but in the straightness and hardness of the wand. 
Our Robin can fly a shaft right well, I grant you, and I have 
no question for his skill, but he cannot yet make me an arrow 
such as I love." 

"Well, I do think them right handsomely done," said 
Mistress Fitzooth, unconvinced. "It is not given to every 
one to make such arrows as you can, husband; but my Robin 
has other accomplishments. He can play upon the harp 
sweetly, and sing you a good song " 

Fitzooth must still grumble, however. "I would rather 
your fingers should bend the bow than pluck at harp-strings, 



Robin," growled he. " Still, there is time for all things. Read 
me now our brother's message." 

Robin, eager to atone for the faults of his arrows, stretched 
out the paper upon the table, and read aloud the following: 

"From George a Court Montfichet, of the Hall at Game- 
well, near Nottingham, Squire of the Hundreds of Sand well 
and Sherwood, giving greetings and praying God's blessing on 
his sister Eleanor and on her husband, Master Hugh Fitzooth, 
Ranger of the King's Forest at Locksley. Happiness be with 
you all. I do make you this screed in the desire that you will 
both of you ride to me at Gamewell, in the light of to-morrow, 
the fifth day of June, bringing with you our young kinsman 
Robin. There is a Fair toward at Nottingham for three days 
of this week, and we are to expect great and astonishing mar 
vels to be performed at it. 

"Wherefore, seeing that it will doubtless give him satis 
faction and some knowledge (for who can witness wonders 
without being the wiser for them?), fail not to present your 
selves as I honestly wish. I also ask that Robin shall stay 
with me for the space of one year at least, having no son now 
and being a lonely man. Him will I treat as my own child 
in all ways, and return him to you in the June of next year. 

"This I send by the hand of Warrenton, my man-at-arms, 
who shall bear me your reply. 

" Given under our hand at Gamewell, the 4th day of June, 
in the year of grace one thousand one hundred and eighty- 

"(Signed) MONTFICHET." 

Robin's clear voice ceased, and silence fell upon them all. 
Fitzooth guessed that both his son and wife waited anxiously 


for his decision; yet he had so great a pride that he could not 
at once agree to the courteous invitation. 

For himself he had no doubt. Nothing would move Fit- 
zooth to mix with the fine folk of Nottingham whilst his claims 
to the acres of Broad weald, in Lancashire, went unrecognized. 
It was an old story, and although, by virtue of his office as 
Ranger at Locksley, Hugh Fitzooth might very properly claim 
an honorable position in the county, he swore not to avail 
himself of it unless he could have a better one. The bar 
sinister stayed him from Broadweald, so the judges had said, 
and haughty Fitzooth had perforce to bear with their finding. 
The king had been much interested in the suit, the estate being 
a large one, situated in the County Palatine of England, and 
the matter had caused some stir in the Court. When Fitzooth 
had failed, Henry, anxious to find favor with his Saxon sub 
jects, had bestowed on him the keeping of a part of the forest 
of Sherwood, in Nottingham 

So Fitzooth, plain "master" now for good and aye, had 
come to Locksley, a little village at the further side of the 
forest, and had taken up the easy duties allotted to him. Here 
he had nursed his pride in loneliness for some years ; then had 
met one day Eleanor Montfichet a-hunting in the woods. He 
had unbent to her, and she gave him her simple, true heart. 

Strange pair, thrown together by Fate, in sooth; yet no 
man could say that this was an unhappy union. Within a 
year came black-eyed Robin to them, and they worshipped 
their child. But as time passed, and Hugh's claims were 
again put aside, his nature began to go sour once more. Now 
they were lonely, unfriendly folk, with no society other than 



that of the worthy Clerk of Copmanhurst a hermit too. He 
had taught Robin his Latin grace, and had given him a fair 
knowledge of Norman, Saxon, and the middle tongues 

"Say that we all may go to-morrow, father," cried Robin, 
breaking the silence. "I have never seen Nottingham Fair, 
sir, and you have promised to take me often." 

"I cannot leave this. place; for there is my work, and rob 
bers are to be found even here. I have to post my foresters 
each day in their tasks, and see that the deer be not killed and 

He paused, and then, noting the disappointment in his 
son's face, relented. ! 'Yet, since there is the Fair, and I 
have promised it, Robin, you shall go with your mother to 
Gamewell, if so be the Friar of Copmanhurst can go also. 
So get ready your clothes, for I know that you would wish 
to be at your best in our brother's hall. I will speed you 
to-morrow so far as Copmanhurst, and will send two hinds 
to serve you to Nottingham gates." 

"Warrenton, my brother's man, spoke grievously of the 
outlaw bands near Gamewell, and told how he had to journey 
warily." So spoke Mistress Fitzooth, trying yet to bring her 
husband to say that he too would go. 

"The Sheriff administers his portion of the forest very 
abominably then," returned Fitzooth. "We have no fears 
and whinings here; but I do not doubt that Warrenton chat 
tered with a view to test our courage, or perchance to make 
more certain of my refusal." 

"But we are to go, are we not, sir?" Robin was anxious 
again, for his father's tone had already changed. 



"I have said it; and there it ends," said Fitzooth, shortly. 
"If the clerk will make the journey you shall make it too. 
Further, an the Squire will have you, you shall stay at Game- 
well and learn the tricks and prettinesses of Court and town. 
But look to your bow for use in life, and to your own hands and 
eyes for help. Kiss me, Robin, and get to bed. Learn all you 
can; and if Warrenton can show you how to fashion arrows 
within the year I'll ask no more of brother George of Game- 

"You shall be proud of me, sir; I swear it. But I will 
not stay longer than a month; for I am to watch over my 
mother's garden." 

"Never will shafts such as yours find quarry, Robin. I 
think that they would sooner kill the archer than the birds. 
There, mind not my jesting. Men shall talk of you; and I 
may live to hear them. Be just always; and be honest." 

The day broke clear and sweet. From Locksley to the 
borders of Sherwood Forest was but a stone's cast. 

Robin was in high glee, and had been awake long ere day 
light. He had dressed himself in his best doublet, green 
trunk hose, and pointed shoes, and had strung and unstrung 
his bow full a score of times. A sumpter mule had been 
saddled to carry the baggage, for the dame had, at the last 
moment, discovered a wondrous assortment of fineries and 
fripperies that most perforce be translated to Gamewell. 
Robin was carolling like any bird. 

"Are you glad to be leaving Locksley, my son?" asked 

Hugh Fitzooth. 



"Ay, rarely!" 

" 'Tis a dull place, no doubt. And glad to be leaving home 

"No, sir; only liappy at the thought of the Fair. Doubt 
it not that I shall be returned to you long ere a month is gone." 

"A year, Robin, a year! Twelve changing months ere 
you will see me again. I have given my word now. Keep 
me a place in your heart, Robin." 

"You have it all now, sir, be sure, and I am not really 
so glad within as I seem without." 

"Tut, I am not chiding you. Get you upon your jennet, 
dame; and, Robin, do you show the way. Roderick and the 
other shall lead the baggage mule. Have you pikes with 
you, men, and full sheaths?" 

" I have brought me a dagger, father," cried Robin, joyfully. 

So, bravely they set forth from their quiet house at Locks- 
ley, and came within the hour to Copmanhurst. Here only 
were the ruins of the chapel and the clerk's hermitage, a rude 
stone building of two small rooms. 

Enclosed with high oaken stakes and well guarded by two 
gaunt hounds was the humble abode of the anchorite. 

The clerk came to the verge of his enclosure to greet them, 
and stood peering above the palisade. "Give you good mor 
row, father," cried Robin; "get your steed and tie up the 
dogs. We go to Nottingham this day and you are to come with 

The monk shook his head. "I may not leave this spot, 
child, for matters of vanity," he answered, in would-be solemn 




"Will you not ride with the dame and my son, father?" 
asked Fitzooth. "George of Gamewell has sent in for Robin, 
and I wish that you should journey with him, giving him such 
sage counsel as may fit him for a year's service in the great 
and worshipful company that he now may meet." 

"Come with us to-day, father," urged Mistress Fitzooth 
also. "I have brought a veal pasty and some bread, so that 
we may not be hungry on the road. Also, there is a flask of 

"Nay, daughter, I have no thought for the carnal things 
of life. I will go with you, since the Ranger of Locksley 
orders it. It is my place to obey him whom the King has put 
in charge of our greenwood. Bide here whilst I make brief 

His eyes had twinkled, though, when the dame had spoken; 
and one could see that 'twas not on roots and fresh water 
alone that the clerk had thrived. Full and round were the 
lines of him under his monkly gown; and his face was red as 
any harvest moon. 

Hugh bade farewell briefly to them, while the clerk was 
tying up his hounds and chattering with them. 

When the clerk was ready Fitzooth kissed his dame and 
bade her be firm with their son; then, embracing Robin, 
ordered him to protect his mother from all mischance. Also 
he was to bear himself honorably and quietly; and, whilst 
being courteous to all folk, he was not to give way unduly to 
anyone who should attempt to browbeat or to cozen him. 

"Remember always that your father is a proud man; and 
see, take those arrows of my own making and learn from them 



how to trim the hazel. You have a steady hand and bold 
eye; be a craftsman when you return to Loeksley, and I will 
give you control of some part of the forest, under me. Now, 
farewell take my greetings to our brother at Gamewell." 

Then the King's Forester turned on his heel and strode 
back towards Loeksley. Once he paused and faced about to 
wave his cap to them : then his figure vanished into the green 
of the trees. 

A sadness fell upon Robin unaccountable and perplexing. 
But the hermit soberly journeyed toward Nottingham, the 
two men-at-arms, with the sumpter mule, riding in front. 

The road wound in and about the forest, and at noon they 
came to a part where the trees nigh shut out the sky. 

Robin spied out a fine old stag, and his fingers itched to 
fit one of his new arrows to his bow. "These be all of them 
King's deer, father?" he asked the friar, thoughtfully. 

"Every beast within Sherwood, royal or mean, belongs to 
our King, child." 

"Do they not say that Henry is away in a foreign land, 

"Ay, but he will return. His deer are not yet to be slain 
by your arrows, child. When you are Ranger at Loeksley, 
in your father's stead, who shall then say you nay?" 

"My father does not shoot the King's deer, except those 
past their time," answered Robin, quickly. "He tends them, 
and slays instead any robbers who would maltreat or kill 
the does. Do you think I could hit yon beast, father? He 
makes a pretty mark, and my arrow would but prick him?" 

The clerk glanced toward Mistress Fitzooth. "Dame," 



The road wound in and about the forest, and at noon they came to t 
part wTiere the trees nigh shut out the sky. 


said he, gravely, "do you not think that here, in this cool 
shadow, we might well stay our travelling? Surely it is near 
the hour of noon? And," here he sank his voice to a sly 
whisper, "it would be well perhaps to let this temptation 
pass away from before our Robin! Else, I doubt not, the 
King will be one stag the less in Sherwood." 

"I like not this dark road, father," began the dame. "We 
shall surely come to a brighter place. Robin, do you ride 
near to me, and let your bow be at rest. Warrenton, your 
uncle's man, told me but yesterday " 

Her voice was suddenly drowned in the noise of a horn, 
wound so shrilly and distantly as to cause them all to start. 
Then, in a moment, half a score of lusty rascals appeared, 
springing out of the earth almost. The men-at-arms were 
seized, and the little cavalcade brought to a rude halt. 

"Toll, toll!" called out the leader. "Toll must you pay, 
everyone, ere your journey be continued!" 

"Forbear," cried Robin, waving his dagger so soon as the 
man made attempt to take his mother's jennet by the bridle. 
"Tell me the toll, and the reason for it; and be more man 

The man just then spied that great stag which Robin 
had longed to shoot, bounding away to the left of them. 
Swiftly he slipped an arrow across his longbow and winged 
it after the flying beast. 

"A miss, an easy miss!" called Robin, impatiently. Drop 
ping his dagger, he snatched an arrow from his quiver, fitted 
it to his bow and sent it speeding towards the stag. "Had 
I but aimed sooner!" murmured Robin, regretfully, when his 



arrow failed by a yard to reach its quarry; and the clerk held 
up his hands in pious horror of his words. 

"The shot was a long one, young master," spoke the 
robber, and he stooped to pick up Robin's little weapon. 
"Here is your bodkin 'tis no fault of yours that the arrow 
was not true." 

They all laughed right merrily; but Robin was vexed. 

"Stand away, fellows," said he, "and let us pass on. Else 
shall you all be whipped." 

Again the leader of the band spoke. "Toll first, lording; 
tender it prettily to us, and you shall only tender it once." 

"I'll tender it not at all," retorted young Fitzooth. "Fie 
upon you for staying a woman upon the King's highroad! 
Pretty men, forsooth, to attack in so cowardly a fashion!" 

"All must buy freedom of the greenwood, master," an 
swered the man, quite civilly. "We, who exact the toll, take 
no heed of sex. Pay us now, and when you return there shall 
be no questioning." 

"A woman should be a safe convoy and free from all toll," 
argued Robin. "Now here are my two men." 

"Slaves, master; and they have only your mule and the 
two pikes. It is not enough." 

"You will leave us nothing then, it seems," said Dame 
Fitzooth, in trembling but brave voice. 

"There is one thing that we all do value, mistress, and I 
purpose sparing you that. We will do no one of you any 
bodily harm." 

"Take my purse, then," sighed Mistress Fitzooth. "There 
is little enough in it, for we are poor folk." 



"Ask toll of the Church," cried Robin, staying his mother. 
"The Church is rich, and has to spare. And afterwards, she 
can grant absolution to you all." 

Again the robbers laughed, as the clerk began explaining 
very volubly to them that they were welcome to all that 
Mother Church could on this occasion offer. 

"We know better than to stay a monk for toll," said the 
robber. "Beside, would your excellence have us commit 

"I would have you leave hold of my bridle," answered 
Robin, very wrathfully. 

"Pay the toll cheerfully, youngling," cried one of the 
others, "and be not so wordy in the business. We have other 
folk to visit; the day is already half gone from Sherwood." 

"I will shoot with you for the freedom of the forest," said 
Robin, desperately. "An I lose, then shall you take all but 
my mother's jennet. She shall be allowed to carry my 
mother into Game well, whilst I remain here, as hostage, for 
her return." 

"Let the dame bring back a hundred crowns in each of 
her hands, then," replied the chief of the robbers. 

"It is agreed," answered Robin, after one appealing glance 
towards the dame. " Now help me down from my horse, and 
let the clerk see fair play. Set us a mark, good father, and 
pray Heaven to speed my arrows cunningly." 

The clerk, who had kept himself much in the background, 
now spoke. "This wager seems to savor of unholiness, 
friends," said he, solemnly. "Yet, in that it also smacks of 
manliness, I will even consent to be judge. You, sir, since 



you are doubtless well acquainted with the part, can speak 
for distance. Now, I do appoint the trunk of yon birch-tree 
as first mark in this business." 

"Speed your arrow, then, lording/' laughed the robber, 
gaily. "Tis but forty ells away! I will follow you respect 
fully, never doubt it." 

Robin bent his bow and trained his eyes upon the birch. 

Then suddenly came back upon him his father's words: 
"Remember that I am a proud man, Robin." 

"I will," muttered Robin, betwixt set teeth, and he aimed 
with all his heart and soul in it. There came the twang of 
the bowstring, and the next moment the gooseshaft was flying 
towards its mark. 

"A pretty shot, master," said the robber, glancing care 
lessly towards the arrow, quivering still in the trunk of the 
birch-tree. "But you have scarce taken the centre of our 
mark. Let me see if I may not mend your aim." 

His arrow sang through the summer air, and took root 
fairly in the middle of the trunk, side by side with Robin's. 

" You win first round, friend," said the clerk, with seeming 
reluctance. "Now, listen, both, whilst I make you a better 
test." He was about to continue, when an interruption oc 
curred one that saved him necessity of further speech. 



SUDDENLY through the greenwood came full four score 
of the King's Foresters, running towards the robbers, 
ready to seize them. " 

These were the foresters of Nottingham, roving far afield. 
The Sheriff of Nottingham had become angered at the im 
pudent robberies of late, and now all of his foresters had 
spread themselves about Sherwood in the hope of making 
such a capture of the outlaws as would please their master 
and bring substantial reward to themselves. On the head of 
Will o' th' Green, the chief of the band, was set the price of 
ten golden crowns. 

But alas! these crowns were still to seek; for Will o' 
th' Green, at first hint of the danger, had put his horn to his 
lips and given a long, low call upon it, and next instant not 
a robber was to be seen. 

Each man had dropped to his hands and knees as soon as 
he had reached the bushes; and the foresters might beat and 
belabor Mother Sherwood in vain, for she would never be 
tray her children. 

Fitzooth's men-at-arms were glad to be released, and were 
eager now to give all information against their assailants. 
One of the fellows swore roundly that the learned clerk had 
given Will o' th' Green a very plain hint; but this assertion 
was most properly put aside by all who heard it. 

Jlobin gave his story of the business, and then, having 



thanked the captain of the foresters, would have continued 
the journey. The clerk was no longer to be denied, however, 
from his food: and so it came about that presently the four 
of them were at a meal together under the trees the captain 
of the foresters having agreed to join with Robin, the hermit, 
and Mistress Fitzooth in an attack upon the good wine and 
pasty which the latter had provided. 

The foresters returned in twos and threes from their fruit 
less search, and stood about in little knots discussing the 
chase. All agreed that the outlaws had some stronghold 
underground, with many entrances and ways into it; easily 
to be found by those in the secret, but impossible of passage 
to persons in pursuit. 

"Do you go to Gamewell, friends?" asked the captain, 
after the meal had been finished. When he had been an 
swered yes, he told Mistress Fitzooth that she might have an 
escort for the rest of the way; since he and his men must 
travel to Gamewell themselves, to report the encounter to 
Squire George of Gamewell. 

Gladly Mistress Fitzooth heard this, and very cheerfully 
they all started afresh upon the journey. 

Robin alone was sad; the fact that the robber chief's 
arrow had flown more near a woodman's mark than his own 
rankled within his breast. 

Ah, but a time would come when Master Will o' th' Green 
should see better archery than he now dreamed of. And 
Robin should be the master who would teach the lesson. 

Building such day-dreams, he cantered quietly enough 
beside his mother's jennet; whilst the clerk and the captain 



of the foresters chattered amiably together. The dame 
listened to their gossip, and put in her own word and ques 
tion; she had an easy mind now and could give herself to talk 
of Prince John and his impudent rebellion. 

"So the barons would really make him King?" asked she, 
round-eyed: "King of all these lands and forests?" 

"Some of our barons have sworn so much," answered the 
forester, lightly; "but men speak best with their swords, 
dame. Have you not heard of young Montfichet's doings? 
He has undone himself indeed " 

" Waldemar Fitzurse is behind it all, and young De Brocy," 
the clerk interrupted, loudly, giving him a warning glance. 

The friar pointed to Robin. : 'Tis the lad's cousin, and 
he does not know of Geoffrey Montfichet's outlawry," he 

"Some say that the King will establish an assize of arms 
on his return from France, whereby every knight, freeholder, 
and burgess must arm himself for England's defense," con 
tinued the clerk, easily. " 'Tis a pretty notion, and like our 

"There are tales about our Henry, and ballads more than 
enough," replied the forester, shrugging his shoulders. "Will 
o' th' Green knows a good one, I am told." 

At the mention of the outlaw's name Robin pricked up 
his ears. He asked many questions concerning Master Will; 
and learned that he had been outlawed by Henry himself 
for the accidental slaying of a younger brother in a quarrel 
years since. Before that he had been a dutiful and loyal 
subject, and there were some who vowed that Master Will 



was as loyal now as many of Henry's barons. Will shot the 
King's deer, truly, but only that he might live: the others 
conspired against their monarch's honor, in order that their 
own might be increased. 

The cavalcade came into sight of Gamewell Hall while 
still at this gossip. The night was falling and lights burned 
behind the embrasured windows of the castle, for such it 
was in truth, being embattled and surrounded properly by a 
moat and heavy walls. 

The captain wound his horn to such purpose that the bridge 
was soon lowered, and the whole party began to trot over 
it into the wide courtyard before the hall. That it was a very 
magnificent place was apparent, despite the shadows. 

Before the door of the hall Robin sprang lightly from his 
horse and ran to help his mother from her saddle with tender 
care: then moved to give assistance to the clerk. The latter 
had bundled himself to firm ground, however, and now stood 
stolidly expectant. 

Master Montfichet George of Gamewell, as the country 
folk called him mostly had come down to greet his guests, 
and was waiting upon them ere Robin couid turn about. 
The Squire was an old man, with white hair curling from 
under a little round cap. He wore long black robes, loose 
and rather monkish in their fashion. He seemed as unlike 
his sister as Robin could well imagine, besides being so much 
more advanced in years. His face was hairless and rather 
pale; but his eyes shone brightly. There was a very pleasant 
expression in the lines about his mouth, and his manner was 
perfect. He embraced Robin with kindliness; and real 



affection for his sister seemed to underlie his few words of 
welcome. To the Friar of Copmanhurst he was so courteous 
and respectful that Robin began to wonder whether he him 
self had ever properly regarded the clerk in the past. If so 
great a man should bow to him, what ought Robin to do? 
Robin remembered that he had often ventured to rally and 
tease this good-natured master who had taught him his letters. 

The Squire bade them follow him, so soon as their horses 
and baggage had been duly given over to the servants and he 
had heard the forester's complaint against the outlaws. The 
Squire made little comment, but frowned. 

At the conclusion of the captain's report, they came into 
the hall, lighted by a thousand fat tapers. 

"Sister Nell do you please dismiss us," said the Squire, 
in his courtly way, after he had signed to some waiting-maids 
to take charge of Mistress Fitzooth. "I will lead Robin to 
his chamber myself, and show him the arrangement we have 
made for his stay at Game well. Supper will be served us 
here in less than an hour. Father, your apartments shall be 
near my own. Come with me, also." 

In the room allotted to him Robin found new and gay 
clothes laid out upon a fair, white bed, with a little rush mat 
beside it. A high latticed window looked out upon the court, and 
there was a bench in the nook, curiously carven and filled with 
stuffs and naperies the like of which Robin had never seen before. 

The walls were hung with tapestries, and very fierce and 
amazing were the pictures embroidered upon them. The 
ceiling was low and raftered with polished beams. Behind 
the door was a sword suspended by a leathern belt. 



"For you, kinsman," the Squire had said, smilingly. 

Robin lost no time in doffing his green jerkin and hose, 
and then he washed himself and eagerly essayed his new 
habiliments. When the sword had been buckled on, our 
young hero of Locksley felt himself equal to Will o' th* Green 
or any other gallant in Christendom. 

He strode along the corridors and found his way back to 
the great hall. There the Master of Gamewell and his mother 
awaited him. Mistress Fitzooth's eyes shone approvingly, 
and Robin slipped his fingers into hers. 

"I'll build a castle as fine as this, mother mine, one of 
these days," Robin told her: and he began to ask Master 
Montfichet questions as to the number of claims-at-law that 
he must have won in order to hold so splendid a domain. 
The Squire smilingly told him that the King had given Game- 
well to him as a reward for valor in battle many years agone. 

"Then will I fight for the King," cried Robin, with flashing 
eyes, "so that I may win my father Broadweald and all the 
lands of it." 

"And I will teach you, Robin: be sure of that," said old 
George Montfichet. "But your sword must be swung for 
the right King, harkee. Not for rebellious princes will we 
cry to arms; but for him whom God hath placed over us 
Henry the Angevin." 

"Amen," murmured the clerk, fervently. "Let law and 
order be respected always." 

"It may mean much to you, friar," said Montfichet. 
" Young John has the Priory of York under his hands." 

"He has not fingers upon Sherwood, and we are free of 



it !" cried the clerk. Then he hastily corrected himself . "We 
hermits can have no fear, since we have no wealth. Happy 
then the man with naught to lose, and who has a contented 

" I will be free of Sherwood Forest, father, if that boon shall 
wait upon my archery. Master Will, the robber, swore that 
if I beat him, sir" he had turned his bright face to old Game- 
well's "I should go free of the greenwood. And I will win 
the right." 

" 'Tis scarcely Will's to grant," frowned the Squire; "y e t 
in a way, he has control of the forest. It is a matter which I 
will look to, since the Sheriff seems so fearful of him," he added, 



THE next day they journeyed quietly into Nottingham, 
taking only a few retainers with them. The clerk 
chose to stay at the hall, fearing, as he said, that his 
eyes would be offended with the vanity of the town. 

When they had come to the meadows wherein the Fair 
was held, Robin was overcome with joy at the sight of the 
wonderments before him. 

That which most pleased him was the tumbling and 
wrestling of a company of itinerant players, merry fellows, 
all in a great flutter of tinsel and noise. They were father 
and three sons, and while the old man blew vigorously upon 
some instrument, the three sons amused themselves and the 
crowd by cutting capers. 

Again and again did Robin entice Master Montfichet to 
return to these strollers. It was the wrestling that most 
moved him, for they put such heart into it as to make the 
thing seem real. "Give them another penny, sir," requested 
Robin, with heightened color. "Nay, give them a silver one. 
Did you ever see the like? The little one has the trick of it, 
for sure ... I do believe that he will throw the elder 
in the next bout." 

"Will you try a turn with me, young master?" asked the 
little stroller, overhearing these words. "If you can stand 
twice to me, I'll teach you the trick and more besides." 

"Nay, nay," said the Squire, hastily. "We have no 



leisure for such play, Robin. Your mother is waiting for us 
at yonder booth. Let us go to her." 

Robin turned away reluctantly. "I do think I could 
stand twice to him. The grass is dry within the ring, sir do 
you think I should hurt my clothes?" 

Such pleading as this moved the capricious old Master of 
Game well. Although it was scarce a proper thing for one of 
gentle blood to mix with these commoners, yet the Squire 
could not forego his own appetite for sport. He turned about 
to the strollers: "I will give a purse of silver pennies to the 
one who wins the next bout," said he. "Let any and all be 
welcome to the ring, and the bout shall be one of three falls. 
Challenge anyone in Nottingham; I dare swear some lad will 
be found who shall show you how to grip and throw." 

The father of the players struck a most pompous attitude 
and blew three piercing blasts. "Come one, come all!" cried 
he. "Here be the three great wrestlers from Cumberland, 
where wrestling is practised by every lad and man! Here 
are the wrestlers who have beaten all in their own county, 
and who now seek to overcome other champions! Oyez, 
oyez! There is a prize of twenty silver pennies to be handed 
to the winner of the next bout (did you say twenty or thirty 
pennies, lording?). Come one, come all the lads from 
Cumberland challenge you!" 

"Now let me wrestle for the pence, sir," pleaded Robin, 
catching hold of the Squire's sleeve. "Why should not I 
try to win them? They might become the foundation of that 
fortune which I would have for my father's sake." 

"Twenty pennies would buy him little of Broad weald, 



boy," laughed the Squire. "Nor should a Montfichet strug 
gle in the mob for vulgar gain. You are a Montfichet re 
member it on your mother's side. We will see how they 
fare, these men of Cumberland, against the lads of Notting 
ham and Sherwood. Here comes one in answer to the chal 

A thin, pale-faced fellow had claimed the purse whilst 
the Squire had been speaking. : 'Tis yours if you can take 
it," answered the old stroller, as he and his lads cleared the 
ring. A great crowd of folk gathered about, and Montfichet 
and Robin were in danger of being jostled into the background. 

"Stand here beside me, lording," commanded the stroller. 
" Do you keep back there, impudent dogs ! This is the noble 
who gives the purse. There shall be no purse at all, an you 
harry us so sorely. Stand back, you and you!" He pushed 
back the mob with vigorous thrusts. " Now let the best man 

The two lads had stripped to their waists, and were eyeing 
each other warily. The Nottingham youth, despite his slim- 
ness, showed clean and muscular against the swarthy thick 
set boy from Cumberland. They suddenly closed in and 
clutched each other, then swayed uncertainly from side to 
side. The crowd cheered madly. 

The competitors for Montfichet's purse were evenly 
matched in strength: it remained for one of them to throw 
the other by means of some trick or feint. The stroller tried 
a simple ruse, and nigh lost his feet in doing it. 

: 'You must show us a better attempt than that, Cumber 
land!" called out someone. Robin, quick-eared to recognize 



a voice, turned his head instantly, and in time to catch a 
glimpse of Will o' th' Green, the robber of Sherwood ! 

Seeing Robin's gaze fixed upon him, Master Will deemed 
it prudent to discreetly withdraw. He nodded boldly to 
the lad first, however; then moved slowly away. "Hold 
fast to him, Nottingham, for your credit's sake," he cried, 
ere disappearing. 

Meanwhile the wrestlers tugged and strained every nerve. 
Great beads of perspiration stood out upon their brows. 
Neither made any use of the many commqn tricks of wrest 
ling : each perceived in the other no usual foe. 

Suddenly the Nottingham lad slipped, or seemed to slip, 
and instantly the other gripped him for a throw. Fatal 
mistake 'twas but a ruse and so clear a one as to end the 
first round. The Nottingham lad recovered adroitly, and 
now that the other had his arm low about the enemy's body, 
his equipoise was readily disturbed. The stroller felt himself 
swiftly thrust downward, and as they both fell together it 
was he who went undermost. 

"A Nottingham! A Nottingham!" clamored the crowd, 
approvingly. Then all prepared themselves for the second 

This, to Robin's surprise, was ended as soon as begun. 
The Cumberland lad knew of a clever grip, and practised 
it upon the other immediately, and the Nottingham hero 
went down heavily. 

The third bout was a stubborn match, but fortune decided 
it at length in favor of the stroller. Montfichet handed the 
purse to the winner without regret. "Spend the money 



worthily as you have won it, Cumberland," spoke the Squire. 
"Now, Robin, let us join your mother. She will be weary 
waiting for us." 

"And if your stomach sickens for a fight with me, master, 
here may I be found until Saturday at noon." So said the 
little tumbler, roguishly. ; 'Tis a pity that we could not 
tussle for the purse, eh? but I would have given your ribs a 

"Now shall I twist his ears for him, Squire?" said Robin. 

"Nay, boy, let his ears grow longer, as befitteth; then you 
will have freer play with them. Come with me to see the 
miracle-play, and be not so ready to answer these rascallions. 
I begin to think that we should not have gone the round of 
the shows by ourselves, Master Spitfire. Travelling un 
attended with you is too dangerous a business." 

Montfichet smiled despite his chidings. He had already 
taken a fancy to this high-spirited youth. He walked affec 
tionately, with his hand upon Robin's shoulder, towards the 
booth where, with her maids, Mistress Fitzooth was waiting 
for them. "Are you sorry for Nottingham, Robin?" he 
asked, as they passed by the pale-faced, rueful wrestler. 
"Then take him this little purse quietly. Tell him it is for 
consolation, from a friend." 

Robin gladly performed the task; then, as he returned to 
the Squire's side, thought to ask instruction on a point which 
had perplexed him not a little. "Yesterday, sir," he began, 
"when we were in the greenwood, all men seemed eager to 
catch the robber chief." 

"Well, Robin?" 



"To-day he walks about Nottingham Fair, and no one 
attempts to tarry him. Why is this, sir? Is the ground 

"Have you spied out Will o* th' Green indeed?" began 
Montfichet, eagerly. "That were hard to believe, for all he 
is so audacious." 

"Truly, sir, I saw him when we were at the wrestling. He 
peered at me above the caps of the people." 

"Point him out now to me, Robin, if you can." The 
Squire became humorously doubtful, and his amusement grew 
upon him as Robin vainly searched with his bright eyes about 
the throng. "No Will o' th' Green is here, child; he would 
be a fish out of water, indeed, in Nottingham town. Dearly 
would I love to catch him, though." 

''Yet I did see him, sir, and he knew me. Now here is 
my mother, who shall tell you how long we talked together 
yesterday. It is not likely that I would forget his voice." 

"Well, well, perhaps you are right," said the Squire. "At 
any rate, we'll keep sharp eyes for the rogue. Have you seen 
the miracle-play, Sister Nell?" he added now to Mistress Fit- 

"I have been waiting here for you," answered she, briefly. 
"Robin, what do you think of it all?" 

Robin's reply was drowned in the noise of the music made 
within the tents. It was so dreadful a din that all were fain 
to move away. 

" See, mother, here is a wizard ; let us go in here!" Robin 
had spied a dim, mysterious booth, outside of which were 
triangles and cones and fiery serpents coming forth from a 



golden pot, with cabalistic signs and figures about the sides 
of it. Standing there was a tall, aged man, clad in a long red 
robe and leaning upon a star-capped wand. 

"Will you have the stars read to you, lording?" he asked, 

"Ay, surely!" clamored Robin. "Come, mother mine; 
come, sir, let us ask him questions of Locksley, and hear what 
my father may be doing." 

"Do you think that you will hear truth, child? Well, 
have your way. Will you join us, Nell the business is a 
pleasing one, for these knaves have the tricks of their trade. 
But harkee, friends, give no real heed to the mummery." 

The wizard ushered them into his tent. Then he dropped 
the edge of the canvas over the opening, shrouding them in 
complete darkness. 

The Squire began an angry protest, thinking that now 
was a good chance for any confederate to rob them or cut 
their pockets: but the wizard, unheeding, struck suddenly 
upon a small gong. A little blue flame sprang up from a 
brazier at the far end of the tent. 

In the strange light one could now see the furniture and 
appurtenances of this quaint place. They were curious 
enough, although few in number. A globe, and a small table 
covered with a black cloth; a bench strewn with papers and 
parchments; and a skeleton of an ape, terribly deformed, 
were the chief items of the collection. 

A curtain concealed part of the tent. Behind the brazier 
were hanging shelves covered with little bottles and phials. 



The wizard stretched his wand out towards the dancing blue 
flame, and it forthwith leaped up into a golden glory. 

"Approach, Robin, son of Fitzooth the Ranger," com 
manded the wizard. "Place your hand upon the globe and 
look down upon this table." He pushed away the black cloth, 
showing that the center of the table was made of flat green 
glass. "Look steadily, and tell me what you see." 

"I see through it the grass of the ground on which we 
stand," said Robin. "There is naught else." 

"Look again, Robin of Locksley." 

Robin strained his eyes in the hope of discovering some 
thing of mystery. But the flat glass was clear and disappointing. 

"Let me take your place, Robin," said Mistress Fitzooth, 

But now the green of the glass began to fade; and it 
seemed to become opaque and misty. Robin dimly saw in 
it a sudden miniature picture of a glade in the forest of Sher 
wood, the trees moving under a south-west wind, and the 
grasses and flowers bowing together and trembling. 

It seemed to be summer; the bracken was high and green. 
A man, clad in doublet and hose of Lincoln green, strode for 
ward into the center of the picture. He was a slim fellow, 
not over tall, with a likeable face, bearded and bronzed; and 
a forester, too, if one might judge by the longbow which he 
carried. He wore no badge nor mark of servitude, however, 
and walked as a free man. His face, vaguely familiar, wore 
an expectant look. He turned his glances right and left. 
A low call sounded from the bushes on his left. Robin could 
hear it as a sound afar off. 



The man cautiously moved towards the verge of the glade, 
and as he did so there came a shower of light laughter from the 
undergrowth. Pushing aside the bracken came forth two 
arms; a merry face appeared; then, quick as a flash, upstood 
a page, gaily clad, with black curly hair and strange eyes. 

The man opened his arms to the lad, and then Robin saw 
that 'twas no boy at all. It was a maid, joyous with life, 
playing such a prank as this that she might bring herself to 
her true love's side. 

Robin watched them delightedly. In some way he knew 
that in this mirrored picture he was concerned to a curious de 
gree; and when a cold cloud passing above the glade took the 
sun and the light from it Robin felt an intense anxiety. 

"Can you see aught now, Robin of the Woods?" mur 
mured the soft voice of the wizard, and Robin would have 
asked him who was the man, if his tongue had been at com 

His eyes took all the strength of his brain. They waited 
furiously for the cloud to pass. 

When all had become clear again the man was alone. His 
face was sorrowful, ill, and old. He was fitting an arrow to his 
bow, and his hand trembled as his fingers drew the string. 
He drew it slowly, almost wearily, yet with a practised gesture. 
Robin, watching him, saw the arrow leap forth from the 

"He is dying and shoots his last arrow is it not so?" he 
uttered thickly, striving to understand. 

While he spoke the vision faded and was gone. 



R~)BIN started back angrily and faced the Squire. He 
began a confused complaint against the wizard, who 
had vanished behind the curtain on the left. Master 
Montfichet shrugged his shoulders indulgently. 

"Give not so earnest a mind to these mummeries, child. 
'Twas all a trick! What did you see? A golden fortune and 
a happy life?" 

"I did see a man, sir, dressed all in Lincoln green. He 
was like unto my father, in a way, and yet was not my father. 
Also there was a stripling page, who turned into a maid. 
Very beautiful she was, and I would know her again in any 

"Ah, Master Robin, have you eyes for the maids already?" 

"This was so sweet a lady, sir, and in some manner I do 
think she died. And the man shot an arrow, meaning me to 
see where it fell, since there would be her grave. That is what 
I think he meant. But then the picture was gone as quickly 
as it came." 

"Sister Nell, do you hear these marvels? Take your 
place and let us see what the crystal can show to you. Most 
worthy conjurer of dreams, take up your wand again: we all 
are waiting impatiently to know what is in store for us!" 

"These things are true that the glass mirror shows, 
lording," answered the wizard, reappearing. "The crystal 
cannot lie." 



He spoke unwittingly in a natural key. Robin turned 
round upon him very shrewdly. 

"Friend wizard," said the youth, half at random, "have 
you ever played at archery in that greenwood which your 
glass showed us so prettily?" 

"Like as not, young master, though I am an old man." 

"Fie on you, friend!" cried Robin, exulting in a sudden 
discovery. "Remember that the crystal cannot lie. It tells 
me now that you and I will meet in rivalry, to shoot together 
for a strange prize the freedom of Sherwood!" 

The wizard hastily drew near and pretended to peer into 
the glass. "What would you do?" he whispered, fiercely. 

"I can be generous, Will o' th' Green," spoke back Robin, 
quite sure now. " Keep your secret, for I will not betray you." 

At this moment there uprose without the booth a most 
deafening tumult. Forthwith all ran to the opening of the 
tent to see what might be amiss; but Master Will, who peeped 
out first, needed no more than one glance. He gave way to 
the others very readily and retreated unperceived by the Squire 
and Mistress Fitzooth to the rear of the tent. 

Cries of: "A Nottingham! A Nottingham!" rent the air, 
and added to the clangor of bells and trumpe tings. As the 
Squire and Robin looked forth they beheld a flying crowd of 
men and women, all running and shouting. 

Before them fled the stroller and his three sons, capless 
and terrified. The old man's triangle had been torn from 
him and was being jangled now by Nottingham fingers. 

"There is trouble before us. Come, Robin," said Mont- 
fichet, as he stepped out, with the lad close at his heels. 



"What is the tumult and rioting?" cried out the Squire, 
authoritatively, and he blew twice on a silver whistle which 
hung at his belt. 

The strollers rushed at once toward the old man, and faced 
their enemies resolutely when they had gained his side. They 
were out of breath, and their story was a confused one. 

The little tumbler recovered first. After the Squire had 
left them, he said, the Nottingham lad had returned with full 
a score of riotous apprentices, all armed with cudgels. They 
had demanded a fresh trial of skill for the Squire's purse of 

"Which was denied us in most vile words, lording," cried 
out one from the crowd, which had come to a halt and was now 
formed in an angry sheepish ring about the front of the wiz 
ard's tent. 

"Nay, we refused their request most politely, most noble," 
said the little stroller. "And then they became vexed, and 
would have snatched your purse from us. So my brother did 
stow the pennies quickly into his wallet, and, giving me the 
purse " 

"You flung it full in my face!" roared the Nottingham 
wrestler, pushing his way to the front, "you little viper, so 
I snatched at him to give him the whipping he deserved, 
when " 

" I could not see my boy injured, excellence, for but doing his 
duty as one of Cumberland's sons. So I did push this fellow." 

"It is enough," said George Gamewell, sharply, and he 
turned upon the crowd. "Shame on you, citizens," cried he; 
" I blush for my fellows of Nottingham. Is this how you play 



an English game: to force your rivals to lose to you any way? 
Cumberland has won my purse: the test was fairly set, and 
fairly were we conquered. Surely we can submit with good 

" 'Tis fine for you to talk, old man," answered the lean, 
sullen apprentice. "But / wrestled with this fellow and do 
know that he played unfairly in the second bout. Else had 
I not gone down at the clutch, as all did see." 

"Insolent!" spoke the Squire, losing all patience; "and 
it was to you that I gave another purse in consolation! Go 
your ways ere I cause you to be more soundly whipped than 
your deserts, which should bring heavy enough punishment, 
for sure. Come to me, men, here, here!" He raised his 
voice still louder. ' ' A Montfi chet ! A Montfichet !" he called ; 
and the Gamewell men who had answered to his first whistling, 
now lustily threw themselves upon the back of the mob. 

Instantly all was uproar and confusion, worse than when 
they first had been startled from the wizard's tent. The 
Nottingham apprentices struck out savagely with their sticks, 
hitting friend and foe alike. The burgesses and citizens were 
not slow to return these blows, and a fierce battle was com 

The strollers took their part in it with hearty zest now that 
they had some chance of beating off their foes. Robin and 
the little tumbler between them tried to force the Squire to 
stand back, and very valiantly did these two comport themselves. 

The head and chief of the riot, the Nottingham apprentice, 
with clenched fists, threatened Montfichet. Robin and the 
little stroller sprang upon the wretch and bore him to the 


ground. The three rolled over and over each other, punching 
and pummelling when and where they might. Robin at 
last got fairly upon the back of their enemy and clung des 
perately to him; whilst the stroller essayed to tie the man's 
hands with his own garters. 

The riot increased, for all were fighting now in two great 
parties; townsfolk against apprentices. The din and shouting 
were appalling. Robin and the little tumbler between them 
rolled their captive into the wizard's tent. 

The Squire helped to thrust them all in and entered 
swiftly himself. Then he pulled down the flap of canvas, 
hoping that thus they might not be espied. "Now, be silent, 
on your lives," he began; but the captured apprentice set 
up an instant shout. 

"Silence, you knave!" cried Montfichet. "Stifle him, 
Robin, if need be; take his cloth." He felt for and found the 
wizard's black cloth. 

The Squire was quite out of breath. "Where is our wiz 
ard friend?" he went on, peering about in the semi-darkness. 
"Most gentle conjurer, we wish your aid." 

But Master Will had beaten a prudent retreat through the 
back of the tent. The canvas was ripped open, letting in a 
stroak of light. They left their prisoner upon the ground, 
and cautiously drew near the rift. 

The noise without showed no abatement. The fighting 
was nearer to the tent, and the bodies of the combatants 
bumped ever and anon heavily against the yielding canvas. 

"They will pull down the place about our heads," muttered 
the Squire. "Hurry, friends." 



Just then Robin stumbled over the skeleton of the ape, 
and an idea seized suddenly on his brain, and, picking himself 
up, he clutched the horrid thing tightly, and turned back 
with it. Thrusting open the proper entrance of the tent, 
Robin suddenly rushed forth with his burden, with a great 

" A Montfichet ! A Montfichet ! Gamewell to the rescue !" 

He held the ape aloft and thrust with it at the press. 
The battle melted away like wax under a hot sun at the touch 
of those musty bones. Terror and affright seized upon the 
mob, and everywhere they fell back. 

Taking advantage of this, the Squire's few men redoubled 
their efforts, and, encouraged by Robin's and the little strol 
ler's cries, fought their way to him. The tumbler had come 
bounding to Robin's side and made up in defiant noise that 
which he lacked in strength of arm. The tide was turned, 
the other strollers and the Gamewell men came victoriously 
through the press and formed a ring about the entrance to the 
wizard's tent. 

Robin, still brandishing his hideous skeleton, wished to 
pursue the beaten and flying rabble; but the Squire coun 
selled prudence. 

''You have done right well, Robin of Locksley, and dearly 
do I love you for your courage and resource. George Mont 
fichet will never forget this day. Here let us wait until the 
Sheriff's men come to us. I hear them now, come at last, 
when all the fighting's done." 

"What is your name, lording?" asked the little stroller, 



" Robin Fitzooth." 

"And mine is Will Stuteley. Shall we be comrades?" 

"Right willingly, for between us we have won the battle," 
answered Robin. He had taken a liking to this merry rogue; 
and gave him his name without fear or doubt. "I like you, 
Will; you are the second Will that I have met and liked within 
two days; is there a sign in that?" 

"A sign that we will be proper friends," replied the stroller. 

Montfichet called out for Robin to give him an arm. The 
Squire, now that the danger was over, felt the reaction; and 
he had strange pains about his breast. 

"Friends," said Montfichet, faintly, to the wrestlers, "bear 
us escort so far as the Sheriff's house. It will not be safe for 
you to stay here now. I would speak with you later, since 
notice must be taken of this affair. Pray follow us, with 
mine and my lord Sheriff's men." 

He spoke with difficulty, and both Robin and Mistress 
Fitzooth were much perplexed over him. The party moved 
slowly across the scattered Fair; nor heeded the mutterings 
and sour looks of the few who, from a distance, eyed them. 

Nottingham Castle was reached, and admittance was de 
manded. When the Sheriff heard who was without his gates 
he came down himself to greet them. He was a small, pom 
pous man, very magnificent in his robes of office, which he was 
wearing this day in honor of the Fair. In the early morning 
he had declared it open; and on the last day would bring his 
daughter to deliver the prizes which would be won at the 

Master Monceux, the Sheriff of Nottingham, was mightily 



put about when told of the rioting. He protested that the 
rogues who had conspired to bring about this scandal should 
all be thrust into the stocks for two whole days, and should 
afterwards be scourged out of the city. He was profuse in his 
offers of hospitality to his guests; knowing Montfichet to 
have a powerful influence with the King. And Henry might 
return to England at any moment. 

The strollers and the Squire's retainers had been told to 
find refreshment with the Sheriff's men-at-arms in the buttery. 
Robin pleaded, however, with the Squire for little Will to be 
left with them. 

"I like this impudent fellow," he said, "and he was very 
willing to help us but a little while since. Let him stay with me 
and be my squire in the coming tourney." 

"Have your will, child, if the boy also wills it," Montfichet 
answered, feeling too ill to oppose anything very strongly just 
then. He made an effort to hide his condition from them all, 
and Robin felt his fingers tighten upon his arm. 

"What is it, dear patron?" Robin asked, anxiously. 

"Beg me a room of the Sheriff, child, quickly. I do think 
that my heart is touched with some distemper." 

Robin ran to the Sheriff. 

"Sir," said he, "my patron is overcome of the heat and 
commotion. He prays that you will quietly grant him some 
private chamber wherein he may rest." 

"Surely, surely!" said the Sheriff. "Ay, and I will send 
him a leech my own man, and a right skilful fellow. Bid 
your master use this poor house as he would his own." The 
Sheriff spoke with great affectation. "In the meantime I will 



see that a proper banquet is served to us within an hour. But 
who is this fellow plucking at your sleeve? He should be in 
the kitchen with the rest." 

"He is my esquire, excellency ," returned Robin, with dignity. 

Mistress Fitzooth had been carried off by the Sheriff's 
daughter and her maids as soon as they had entered the house, 
so that Robin alone had the care of Montfichet. With Will 
Stuteley's assistance they brought the old man safely to the 
chamber allotted them by the fussy Sheriff. Robin was glad 
when, at length, they were left to their own devices. 

" 'Tis a goblet of good wine that the lording requires to 
mend him," said the little stroller. "I'll go and get it, Robin 

The wine did certainly bring back the color to the Squire's 
cheeks. Robin chafed his cold hands and warmed them be 
twixt his own. Slowly the fit passed away, and George Mont 
fichet felt the life returning to him. 

'Twas an ugly touch, young Robin. These escapades 
are not for old Gamewell, lad; his day has come to twilight. 
Soon 'twill be night for him and time for sleep." 

The Squire's voice was sad. He held Robin's hand affec 
tionately, as the latter continued his efforts to bring back 
warmth to him. 

"But I will do some proper service for you, child. You 
shall not find me one to lightly forget. Will you forgive me 
now? I will return to Gamewell soon as I may and there rest 
for a few days." 

"I'll take you, sir. It will be no disappointment to me. 
I have seen all that I wish of Nottingham Fair." 



"You shall return for the tourney; and if your father will 
give you leave, young Cumberland, you shall become my 
Robin's esquire. No thanks; I am glad to give you such easy 
happiness. Arm me to the hall, Robin; I am myself again, 
and surely there is a smell of roasted meats!" 

"You are a worthy leech, Will," presently whispered 
Robin. "The wine has worked a marvel. Come, follow us, 
and forget not that I still will wrestle with you! Ay, and 
show you some pretty tricks." 

"Unless I have already learned them!" retorted young 
Stuteley, laughing. Then, becoming serious, the little stroller 
suddenly bent his knee. "I'll follow you across the earth 
and sea, master," he murmured, touching Robin's hand with 
his lips. 

He lightly sprang to his feet again, seeing that Montfichet 
now impatiently awaited them. Together they made their 
way to the banquet spread in the Sheriff of Nottingham's wide 



SQUIRE GEORGE of Gamewell rested at his ease in the 
comfort of his own domain during the next day; and, 
though he would have Robin go into Nottingham, with 
his new esquire and Warrenton Montfichet's own man 
young Fitzooth was more than content to stay near to his 
patron's side. 

There had been no difficulty in the matter of Master Stute- 
ley's detachment from the other strollers. The old tumbler 
was shrewd enough to see that his son would considerably 
better his fortunes by joining them with those of Robin of 
Locksley. Will was delighted, and wished to commence his 
duty in Robin's service by instructing his young master at 
once in the arts of wrestling, single-stick, and quarter-staff. 

The Squire laughed at their enthusiasm. 

"Do you leave me, Robin, to the care of your mother: 
I warrant me I'll come to no harm!" he said. "There are 
matters on which I would talk with her, and we must be at 

Montfichet dismissed them. He was quite restored by 
this time, and settled himself to a serious conversation with 
his sister. 

There were subjects which he touched upon only to her 
being a secret man in some things, and very cautious. 

"Having now no son, and being a lonely man," he had 
written in his letter, and Dame Fitzooth had known from this 



that unhappy relations still existed between George of Game- 
well and Geoffrey Montfichet, his only son. 

The two men had been for a long time on unfriendly terms, 
though the Squire latterly had sought honestly to undo that 
which had been years a-doing. He could not own to himself 
that the fault was his altogether: but Geoffrey, exiled to 
London, had been brought back to Gamewell at his father's 
entreaty. For a time things had gone on in a better direction 
then had come Prince John's rebellion. 

Geoffrey Montfichet was found to have been implicated 
in it, and had been condemned to death. Only by the Squire's 
most strenuous endeavors had this sentence been commuted 
by the King to life punishment. Geoffrey fled to Scotland, 
whilst the Squire had been exercising himself on his erring 
son's behalf. It was the last straw, and George Montfichet 
disinherited his son. The hard-won Manor of Gamewell 
must pass from the line. 

Squire George had suddenly perceived a chance to prevent 
that catastrophe. He had taken greatly to the lad Robin 
Fitzooth: and this boy was of the true Montfichet blood 
why should he not adopt the Montfichet name and become 
the Montfichet heir? 

This notion had been simmering in the Squire's mind. It 
had been born at that moment when Robin had so cared for 
him and fought for him in Nottingham Fair. "Here, at last," 
said the Squire, "have I found a son, indeed." 

Mistress Fitzooth had to listen to her brother's arguments 
submissively. The dame saw stormy days for her ahead, for 
well she guessed that Hugh Fitzooth would never agree to 



what the other in his impetuous way was proposing. She 
listened and said "y ea " and "nay" as the occasion offered: 
once she mentioned Geoffrey's name, and saw GamewelPs 
face cloud instantly with anger. 

"He is no son of mine," said Montfichet, in a hard voice. 
"Do not speak of him here, sister Nell nor think me an un 
forgiving man," he hastened to add, "for God knows that I 
did humble myself to the ground that I might save his head 
from the axe of the King's executioner ! And he disgraced me 
by running away to Scotland on the very night that I had 
gained Henry's pardon for him. Nay; I have no kin with 

"Geoffrey may have some reasonable excuse, brother 
mine," began the dame, anxious to make peace. 

Gamewell cut her short. "There can be no excuse for 
him," he said, harshly. 

His voice softened when he talked of Robin, for he was con 
cerned to gain his point. 

"Fitzooth will be difficult in the matter, I do fear me," 
murmured the dame, perplexed and ill at ease. "He is a 
Saxon, George, and thinks much of his descent and name. He 
looks to Robin winning fame for it, as in olden days. I do 
misdoubt me sorely." 

"Well, let the lad be known as Robin Fitzooth Montfichet 
'tis but tacking on another name to him," said the Squire. 
"If he lives here, as I shall devise in my will, right soon will 
he be known as Gamewell, and that only! That fate has be 
fallen me, and one might believe me now as Saxon as your 
Hugh, Nell." 



"You are none the worse for't, George," answered the dame, 
proudly. "Either race is a kingly one." 

"Saxon or Norman shall Robin become Montfichet?" 
asked the Squire, commencing his arguments again. 

Fate had in store for young Robin, however, very different 
plans from those tormenting Fitzooth the Ranger and old 
Squire George of Gamewell Hall. 

The two lads strolled arm-in-arm about the wide court 
of Gamewell, following Warrenton, in dutiful mood. The 
old henchman was very proud of the place, and had all the 
legends of it at hjis fingers' ends. He told young Robin of 
hidden treasure and secret passage-ways, and waxed eloquent 
concerning the tapestries and carvings. 

The hours went pleasantly enough, for, after the building 
had been duly shown them, Warrenton took Robin about 
the gardens and orchards. There was a pleasance, and a 
"Lady's Bower," wherein, Warrenton affirmed, walked a 
beautiful lady once in every twelve months, at Hallow-e'en, 
on the stroke of midnight. The old man then left them. 

Very shocked was the old retainer to find these merry lads 
engaged together, later, at wrestling and the quarter-staff, 
as if they had been equals in birth. When Stuteley had 
thrown Robin thrice at "touch and hold," within sight of the 
hall it was indeed upon the soft grass of the pleasance 
Warrenton looked to see old Gamewell thundering forth. 

When the Squire came not, and Robin nerved himself for 
yet another tussle, the retainer shrugged his shoulders and 
even took an interest in the matter. 



Catch him by the middle, " he shouted. " Now you have him, lording, {airly. 
Throw him prettily! " And sure enough Stuteley came down. 


"Catch him by the middle," he shouted. "Now you have 
him, lording, fairly. Throw him prettily!" And sure enough 
Stuteley came down. 

"Does Master Gamewell play at archery here, Warren- 
ton?" Robin asked, presently, when he and Will were tired 
of wrestling. "Are they not targets that I see yonder?" 

The old man's eye lit up with pride. "Squire's as pretty 
a marksman as any in Nottingham, lording, for all his years !" 
cried he. " And old Warrenton it was who taught him. Yon 
target is a fair mark for any shaft from where we stand. Yet 
I dare swear that GamewelPs lord would never miss the bull 
in fifty shots at it!" 

"Have you bow and quiver here?" inquired Robin, eagerly. 
"Mine I have left in my room." 

"Cross bow, longbow, or what you will, most noble. All 
that Gamewell has I am to give you. Such were my master's 
commands. An your esquire will run to the little hut near by, 
within the trees, he will find all that we need." 

" Go, Will. Haste you, and bring me a proper bow," cried 
Robin, with sparkling eyes. "Now I'll bend the yew and see 
if I cannot do better than in Sherwood." 

Mastei Stuteley, having journeyed to the hut, peeped in 
and started back with a cry of affright. 

"The Yellow Woman, Robin!" called he, scampering back 
to them. "She is in there, and did snatch at me! Let us 
run, quickly!" 

"Beshrew me, master, but this is an adventure, for sure! 
The Yellow One, was it? Then your days are numbered, 
and we had better be seeking a new esquire," said Warrenton. 



"Are you afraid, Warrenton?" said Robin, moving in 
voluntarily nearer to him. He glanced from one to the other, 
undecided whether to believe Will or stand and laugh at his 

"I have had the distemper, master, and cannot again be 
hurt. But here she comes, by the Lord! Keep near to me, 
lording, and shut your eyes tight." 

Robin was too dazed to heed the old man's advice. He 
glared in a fascinated way at the figure emerging from the hut. 

"It is a man," cried Robin, at last, "and listen- he is 
calling you, Warrenton. 7 ' 

The retainer uttered a little sound of astonishment and 
ran forward. "Sir sir," he cried, as if in entreaty, -to the 
man approaching: and he made a gesture as though to warn 

The "Yellow Lady" appeared to be in doubt both of Robin 
and young Stuteley. 

"Who are these, Warrenton?" called out a low, hushed 

Warrenton answered not, save with his half-warning, half- 
commanding sign. But as the stranger drew near, apparently 
come to a decision, the Squire's man spoke. 

" It is your cousin, Master Geoffrey, and his esquire. They 
are here from Locksley." 

"So, 'tis my kinsman, Robin, who has tried to startle me?" 
said the stranger, as Robin drew near to .him. " Greetings, 
cousin; here's my hand to you for all that you come to sup 
plant me. Nay ! I bear no ill-will. Gamewell has no charms 
in my eyes compared with those of a life of freedom." 



"Is it Geoffrey, indeed?" asked young Fitzooth, gazing 
with both eyes wide. He had looked to see his cousin young 
as himself, and here was a man before him, bearded and 
bronzed, of nigh thirty summers. He was clad in sombre 
clothes, and wore upon his shoulders a great scarlet cape, cut 
extravagantly in the Norman fashion. Suddenly Robin 
laughed, heartily and frankly. 

"Yellow, Will, yellow, forsooth? Are you color-blind, 
friend? Cousin Geoffrey, we had believed you none other 
than the yellow-clad damsel who walks here at Hallow-e'en. 
Forgive us the discourtesy, I pray you. Here is my hand and 
good fellowship in it. I am to relinquish all right to Game- 
well ground at the end of a year an I like such were your 
father's terms. I do doubt whether I may stay so long as 

He spoke fearlessly. The two cousins embraced each 
other, and for an instant Geoffrey gave play to his better self; 
then, next moment, suspicion returned upon him. 

"I am but come to see you, Warrenton, on a small matter. 
I must have a horse and armor and a lance, that I may ride 
at Nottingham in the joustings. I shall be disguised, and will 
wear my visor down: a hungry wolf prowling unrecognized 
about his lord's domain." 

His speech was bitter and his voice harsh. "Kinsman," 
added he, to Robin, "do you keep still tongue in the business, 
and tell your squire to be as discreet. I am outlawed in Eng 
land and have no right in it " 

"That is not so, Geoffrey; surely your father will for 
give " 



"It is in the King's hands, cousin. My father has no 
voice in it, nor would desire to speak again for me, I trow. I 
have heard all that he hath already done in my behoof, War- 
renton the item was brought to me circuitously. Now I will 
keep you no longer: this hut has been and will be my shelter 
until the horse and arms are brought here to me." 

"I'll saddle him myself for you, coz: and choose you as 
stout a lance as Gamewell can provide. Let me help you in 
this, and be to you always a true friend." 

"You speak soothly, young Robin, and it may be with 
sincerity. I'll trust you then." Geoffrey drew him on one 
side. " See that the trappings and armor be of good steel and 
furbished with red leather: let the note of them be steel and 
scarlet. No device upon the shield, if you should think to 
bring me one; and stay, I would like the sword-hilt and the 
lance to be bound in red. Thus may you know me, if so be 
you are at the jousts; but be secret, and trust no other man 
than Warrenton. I'll wait you here at midnight have no 
fear of the yellow ghost, kinsman!" 

"You'll be as red as she is yellow, cousin," whispered back 
Robin, with smiling face. "I'll do your behest, and attend 
you in this pleasance? to-night at twelve o* th' clock. My 
squire can be trusted, I well believe." 

"Believe in no man until you have tried him, coz," an 
swered Geoffrey. He paused. "Does Master Montfichet 
keep well in health, kinsman?" he asked. 

"He is well, now, but has been indisposed. . . . Yes 
terday at Nottingham " 

"Ay, I heard of the doings there no matter how," mut- 



tered the other, hastily. "Tell me that he is restored again; 
and that you will keep him from harm always as valiantly as 
you did then. Does your father still guard the forest at 
Locksley? 'Tis many years since I have seen Master Fitz- 
ooth, but thy mother hath always been kindly disposed to 
me. Farewell." 

He nodded to Warrenton, and slipped back to the little hut, 
and they heard him push the bolts after him. Robin turned 
to Stuteley. 

" Will, speak not of this meeting with anyone save Warren- 
ton. I have promised for you." 

"Right, master; the matter has already passed from my 
mind. Shall we try our skill at archery? Warrenton can find 
me a bow, and I'll fetch yours from the hall. Here comes a 
priest; surely he were good mark for us had we our arrows 
here! And with him behold a forester of the King green- 
clad and carrying a royal longbow. Do you beg it of him, 
master mine, whilst I seek yours. I go." 

Young Stuteley hurried across the green, whilst Robin ad 
vanced to meet the Clerk of Copmanhurst and the captain of 
the King's Foresters. They were in earnest converse, and 
clearly had not spied the gay cloak of Geoffrey Montfichet. 

Warrenton, with significant gesture to Robin, began a 
lecture on the making and choosing of arrows, as he walked 
beside his master's guest. 

"Are you talking of arrow-making, friend?" asked the 
forester, overhearing them. "Now I will tell you the true 
shape and make of such shafts as our Will o' th' Green 
uses," he struck in. "One bare yard are they in length, 



and are sealed with red silk, and winged with the feathers 
of an eagle." 

"Peacock," corrected the clerk, interposing. "You're 
wrong, Master Ford, as I will prove. Here is the head of one 
of Will's bolts, dropped in the greenwood on the day you res 
cued us from him. I have kept it in my pouch, for 'tis a pretty 
thing." He laughed all over his jolly face. "Here, Robin, 
keep it, and learn therefrom how not to make arrows, for van 
ity is a sin to be avoided and put on one side. The plainer 
the barb the straighter does it fly, as all true bowmen must 

He took Robin's hand, soon as the lad had fastened the 
trophy in his belt. "I have been bidden to you by the Master 
of Gamewell. He would speak with you, Robin; and I do 
counsel you to give all heed and weight to his words, and be 
both prudent and obedient in your answerings to him." 

They moved together towards the hall, whilst Warrenton 
and the forester argued still on the matter of winging arrows. 



IT WAS Warrenton who brought Master Geoffrey his red- 
armored steed and lance, after all; for, although Robin 
had had a voice in the choosing of the horse, and had 
helped the retainer to bind the shaft and interlace the cuirass 
and gyres with riband such as the knight had ordered, events 
stayed Robin from going out with these appurtenances of war 
to the Lady's Bower. 

Young Fitzooth had been commanded to his mother's 
chamber so soon as he had come out from his converse with 
the Squire. There befell an anxious interview, Mistress Fitz 
ooth arguing for and against the Squire's project in a breath. 
Robin was perplexed indeed: his ambition was fired by the 
Squire's rosy pictures of what he, as a true Montfichet, must 
adhere to without fail upon assuming the name and mantle of 
Game well. 

Most of all Robin thought of his father. What would he 
counsel? "Remain Fitzooth, and fight your own way in the 
world, boy." That is what he might say. In the end Robin 
decided to sleep upon the matter. In any case he would not 
consent to rob Geoffrey of his inheritance; and he told old 
Gamewell this to his face. "When I am gone you can do 
what you will with the place, boy," the old man had answered. 
"I have no son; but, of course, the fees and revenues will be 
yours. If, for a whim, you beggar yourself, I cannot stay you. 
But take it whilst I live; and wear Montfichet's shield in the 



days when my eyes can be rejoiced by so brave a sight, for you 
will ne'er disgrace our 'scutcheon, I warrant me. Perchance 
'tis Geoffrey's sole chance that you should wear the badge of 
Gamewell. I might choose to bequeath it elsewhere." 

The lad had checked him then. "Never that, sir," he had 
said. "Let Gamewell land be ruled, for ever, by Gamewell's 
proper lord. I pray you to let me take counsel with my mother 
ere I answer you." 

"It is what I would suggest myself. Go to her." 

Then had come the argument with his mother, which had 
unsettled him more than before. 

He went down to discuss with Warrenton and Stuteley the 
means by which they best could bring the horse and arms to 
Geoffrey, and it soon became evident that no one other than 
Warrenton dare attempt it, for fear of betraying the son to his 
still angry father. 

"Are you sure, Warrenton, that you will perform this busi 
ness right carefully?" Robin asked, over and over again, until 
the old servant became vexed. 

"I am part of the house of Montfichet, lording," snapped 
Warrenton, at last, "and it is not reasonable to think that I 
will turn against myself, as it were. Be sure that the horse 
and his trappings will be safely carried to my second master, 
Geoffrey, at the hour given. Do you keep the Squire em 
ployed in talk; and find excuse to lie in the little room next to 
his own that you may hear him if he moves." 

So Robin and Will went back to the hall, and presently the 
Squire's voice was heard through the arras which covered the 
north entrance to the apartment. He was in deep converse 



with the clerk, and entered the hall holding him by the arm. 
For a moment Robin and Will were unperceived; then the 
Squire's bright, keen eyes discovered them. 

"Now to bed, boy!" cried he, dropping his detaining hold 
of the priest. " 'Tis late; and I go myself within a short space. 
Dismiss your squire, Robin, and bid me good e'en. An early 
sleeper maketh a sound man." 

"Did I see you with Warrenton, Robin Fitzooth?" put in 
the clerk, curiously. "I would fain have some talk with him 
on the matter of archery. I am told that this old man can 
draw as pretty a bow as any in Nottingham." 

"As any in England, I would say," said Gamewell, proudly. 
"That is, in his day. Now that age is upon Warrenton and 
his master, cunning in such matters is to seek. Yet he 
will teach you a few tricks when morning is come. Now 
kiss me, boy, and keep clear head and ready hand for the 
joustings and games to-morrow. Good night; God keep thee, 

He seemed to take it for granted that Robin would, in the 
end, consent to become of the house of Gamewell. Already 
Squire George looked upon him as heir to the hall and its acres; 
even as slowly did Warrenton, the shrewd and faithful man- 
at-arms. Truth to tell, the old servant did not regard the 
prospect with too kind an eye. 

Young Fitzooth embraced his uncle, and bade him good 
night with real affection. There was no chance to alter his 
sleeping-room to one nearer to Gamewell's chamber. 

When he had reached his chamber, again came the suspicion 
of Warrenton. Robin unfastened his tunic slowly and thought- 



fully. Presently he crossed the floor of his room with decided 

"Will," cried he, softly; and Stuteley, who had chosen his 
couch across the door of his young master's chamber, sprang 
up at once in answer. 

"Do you hold yourself ready, Will, so soon as the house is 
asleep. We will go out together to the bower; there is a way 
down to the court from my window. Rest and be still until 
I warn you." 

Stuteley replied in a word to him; and, blowing out his 
taper, Robin returned to his bed and flung himself upon it in 
patient expectation. 

The hours passed wearily by, and movement could yet be 
heard about the hall. The open lattice gave entry to all 
sound from the court below: and from his window Robin could 
tell when the tapers in the hall were extinguished. Thrice he 
got up from his bed, and his stock of patience was slipping 
from him. 

At last all was quiet and black in the courtyard of Game- 

"Will," whispered Robin, opening his door as he spoke, 
"are you ready?" 

Stuteley nodded as he entered on pointed toes. 

"From the window," explained Robin, pushing him to 
wards the lattice. A faint starry radiance illumined the 
sky, and dim shadows held the angles and nooks of the court 
below them. 

A dense ivy clung to and covered the walls of the house. 
To one of light and agile body it gave fair footing. Robin had 



hands and feet in it in a moment; and cautiously, adroitly 
came to the ground, and signalled to Will Stuteley. 

The little ex-tumbler would have liked to have done tricks 
and shown his cleverness in the business, had there been time 
for it: as it was, Will dropped beside Robin lightly and easily, 
and instantly the two began to cross the court. 

It was necessary for them to climb over the stables at their 
left hand. Some dogs, hearing these quiet, stealthy footfalls, 
began to bay furiously: and both the youths stayed them 
selves until the beasts went grumbling and suspicious back to 
the kennels. 

They then renewed their journey, and, under the better 
light, made a safe crossing of the stable-roofs. 

They managed at length to win the gardens, and then 
raced across the open ground to gain the shelter of the yew- 
trees bordering the bower. The pleasance, in the soft moon 
light, looked ghostly enough : the statues and stone ornaments 
placed about the place seemed to be instinct with life and to 
wave signals of horror to Will's starting eyes. 

At last they approached the hut, and Robin saw in the 
bright moonlight that the door gaped black at them. There 
was no sign to betray either Warrenton or Geoffrey to him. 
Robin entered the hut, dragging the unwilling esquire after 

A draught of chill air puffed in their faces as they entered; 
and a great owl blundered screamingly out into the night, the 
rush and noise of it startling Will to a cold ecstasy of terror. 
He would have plunged madly back to the hall had not Robin 
held firmly to him. 



"Be not so foolish, friend," said Fitzooth, crossly. His 
voice took his father's tone, as always happened when he was 

They moved thereafter cautiously about the hut, groping 
before and about them to find something to show that Warren- 
ton had fulfilled his mission. Presently Will stumbled and fell, 
pulling down Robin atop of him. 

Robin, putting out his hand to save himself, found that 
his fingers grasped nothing but air. They were upon the 
verge of an open trap, in the far corner of the hut; and Stute- 
ley had tripped over the edge of the reversed flap-mouth of 
this pit. Fitzooth's hand rested at last upon the top rung of a 
ladder, and slowly the truth came to him. Quickly he drew 
himself up and whispered the discovery to the other. 

In an instant, then, their fears were dispelled. Will would 
have gone down first into the pit had not Robin stayed him. 
Stuteley was anxious that his young master should come to no 
harm; and where a danger appeared an earthly one, he was 
quite willing to bear the brunt of it. It was thought of the 
Yellow Woman which dried up all the courage in his small, 
wiry body. 

Robin carefully descended the ladder and found himself 
soon upon firm rocky ground. Stuteley was by his side in a 
flash: and then they both began feeling about them to ascer 
tain the shape and character of this vault. Hardly had they 
commenced when Robin's quick ears took warning. Sound of 
a quiet approach was plain. 

The darkness of the pit was suddenly illumined, and the 
lads found themselves suddenly faced by the beams of alanthorn 



suspended at about a man's height in the air. From the black 
ness behind the light they heard a voice Warrenton's ! 

"Save me, masters, but you startled me rarely!" cried he, 
waving the lanthorn before him to make sure that these were 
no ghosts in front of him. " I have but this minute left Master 
Montfichet, having carried his horse to him in safety. He 
rides into Nottingham to-morrow, unattended. I would that 
I might be squire to him!" 

"Did you indeed bring horse and arms down this ladder, 
Warrenton?" enquired Robin, with his suspicions still upon 
him. "Truly such a horse should be worth much in Notting 
ham Fair! I would dearly have loved to see so brave a busi 
ness " 

"Nay, nay, lording," answered Warrenton, with a half- 
laugh. "See" and again he waved his light, showing them 
where the underground passage, for such it was, sloped up 
ward to another and larger trap, now closed. "This way is 
one of the many secret ones about Gamewell, master: but do 
you keep the knowledge of it to yourselves, I beg, unless you 
would wish hurt to our future lord of Gamewell." 

Warrenton spoke thus with significance, to show Robin 
that he was not to think Geoffrey's claims to the estate would 
be passed by. Robin Fitzooth saw that his doubts of Warren 
ton had been unfair: and he became ashamed of himself for 
harboring them. 

"Give me your hand, Warrenton, and help me to climb 
these steps," said he, openly. : 'Tis dark, for all your lamp; 
and I fain would feel friendly assistance, such as you can give." 

His tones rang pleasantly on Warrenton's ears, and forth- 



with a good-fellowship was heralded between them. This 
was to mean much to the young hero of Locksley in the time 
to come; for Warrenton's help and tuition were to make Robin 
Fitzooth something far better than the clever bowman he was 
already. This night, in a way, saw the beginning of Robin's 
fortunes and strange, adventurous after-life. 

The old servant told him quietly as they crept back to 
Gamewell that this passage-way led from the hut in the plea- 
sance to Sherwood ; and that Geoffrey for the time was hiding 
with the outlaws in the forest. "Our master is to be recog 
nized by us as the Scarlet Knight at Nottingham Fair should 
one ask of us, lording," Warren ton told him. "He implores 
us to be discreet as the grave in this matter, for in sooth his 
life is in the hollow of our hands." 

The old servant spoke no more. In silence he led them 
back into Gamewell by the private door through the stables 
by which he had himself emerged. 

They regained their apartment, apparently without dis 
turbing the household of Gamewell. Only did one pair of 
eyes and ears look and listen for them, and observe both their 
exit and return. It was the Clerk of Copmanhurst's door 
that stood ajar; his busy mind that employed itself in specu 
lation as to the cause and meaning of this midnight adventure. 



GEOFFREY MONTFICHET'S reason for wishing to 
be known as the Scarlet Knight was no idle whimsey, 
as the others had guessed. 

To John's rebellion against his father, Henry of England, 
the younger Montfichet had given himself body and soul. The 
Prince had shown him kindness, and now that the rebellion 
had failed, Geoffrey felt it incumbent upon him to remain 
with the beaten side, and endeavor to recover the advantage 
lost to them. To this end he now journeyed through the Mid 
lands in many disguises, trying to stir up the outlaws and 
robbers of the forests to take up arms with John, under a 
promise that the Prince (if successful) would grant them 
amnesty and a goodly share of the spoils sure to fall to them. 

A spy was to attend at Nottingham Fair to know how mat 
ters had progressed with the outlaws of Sherwood; but, since 
it was too dangerous to attempt an open meeting, Geoffrey 
had arranged a simple code of signalling, by color. 

Did he appear as a knight unknown and disinherited, 
bound on his arms and steed with red trappings, the spy, eye 
ing him from beside the Sheriff of Nottingham, would know 
that Will o' th' Green was to be trusted, and would promptly 
bear the joyful news to his Royal Master. Had sad black 
been the note, John's man would have guessed that friends 
were still to seek about Nottingham. 

Thus we know that Master Will had more reasons than 



one for appearing as a wizard at Nottingham Fair. He had 
gone here chiefly to bear a scroll to the Prince's emissary, and 
to declare fealty to John; but the affair of the tumblers and 
Robin's discovery of him had warned Master Will not to stay 
over long in the town, so Geoffrey had to depend upon his 
plan of appearing as the Scarlet Knight. 

The morning broke dull and threateningly over Gamewell. 
Robin and his esquire slept late; but no one offered to disturb 
their slumbers. The monk knew full well that there was good 
cause for his pupil's fatigue; and had set himself to discover 
the true meaning of it. "Boy," said he to Robin, "I pray 
that you do not think upon Nottingham to-day. There will 
be a storm and much rain. The mud in the meadows of Not 
tingham will surely spoil the bravery of the Fair, and show us 
too plainly how trumpery and vain a matter it is." 

"For that cause alone will we go, dear friend," retorted 
Robin. "It will be a lesson to us. With you beside us to 
point the moral, much benefit shall accrue, for sure. Father," 
Robin added, "come with us now to the pleasance. There 
Warrenton is to show me how to notch arrows and pick a 
courtly bow." 

"I have no great wisdom in the game, boy; yet readily 
will I go with you." 

The three of them went in search of Warrenton; and found 
him with the captain of the foresters. 

Dame Fitzooth and the Squire followed later to the plea 
sance, and there one and all tried conclusions. Robin soon 
found that Warrenton could teach him much; and he was too 
anxious to excel in the conduct of the bow to neglect this 



chance of learning the many secrets of it. "Men shall talk 
of you" Fitzooth's own words to him always rang in his 
heart whenever he drew the cord and fitted ash across yew. 

Warrenton took great pleasure in showing Robin some of 
the tricks in which he was so perfect; and explained them so 
well that ere an hour had gone the lad had learned and mas 
tered them. 

"Lording," said the old servant, watching him as he es 
sayed successfully an exercise shown him but a few minutes 
before. "Lording, I do not doubt that you will carry away 
with you to-day the Sheriff's prize from the older bowmen of 
Nottingham! You have a keen eye for it, and your fingers 
seem comfortable upon the yew which is the sign and mark of 
a good archer. Now, bear in mind this golden rule: that the 
feet are to be placed at true angles, with the line of the mark 
running, as it were, fairly through the heels: thus," and he 
took the position, fitted an arrow to his bow, and, scarce look 
ing towards the target, flew his shaft so straightly as to pierce 
the very center of the bull. "Try now to notch the arrow," 
said Warrenton, with pardonable pride. 

Robin shook his head and laughed. 

"Ay, but you shall make far better than that, lording, an I 
have the handling of you!" cried Warrenton. "Now take 
this bow and these arrows which I have chosen; and we will 
set forth for Nottingham. We have an hour's journey." 

On the way to Nottingham, Robin's mind was so full of 
all that had lately happened that he lagged behind the others 
and at last found himself quite alone. 

This was where the road curved through the last of the 



forest about Nottingham. Warrenton and Master Ford of 
the foresters were at a renewed discussion on longbow against 
crossbow; and Will Stuteley had become so interested in the 
matter as to have poked his little horse between the others. 
Robin trotted his steed to come up with them; then, suddenly 
spying a brooklet among the trees upon his left hand, found 
himself mightily athirst. He slipped from off the back of his 
grey jennet and tethered the beast by the roadside. 

The brook was fouled near the highroad from the passing 
of heavy carts and wagons, so Robin pushed down it into the 
thicker wood. 

Finding that now the stream ran pure and limpid, Robin 
flung himself flat among the brackne and rushes, and dipped 
his face in the cool water. He drank heartily, and lay there 
for a while in lazy content, hid by the undergrowth and bracken. 

A whinnying from his jennet warned him at length that he 
must push on with speed if he intended to rejoin the others ere 
Nottingham gate was reached. Robin turned himself about, 
preparatory to rising, then hastily shrank back into the shelter 
afforded by the ferns. 

Two men approached noiselessly through the forest. They 
carried bows and were clad in russet brown. Robin, in that 
brief glimpse, recognized two of Master Will's free-booting 

The outlaws walked side by side in earnest conversation. 
Their mutterings were at first unintelligible to Robin; but, 
by hazard, they paused close to where he lay hid. Young 
Fitzooth knew that he would have small chance with these fel 
lows should they espy him. 



Said one, an evil-looking man, with a dirty grizzled beard: 
"Our Will seems to me, friend Roger, to be of open heart to 
wards this youngling. He has given him the key of the forest 
at first word, as if the place were free to all. Had you the 
knowledge of it so soon, Roger? Tell me, lad." 

He spoke sneeringly and with meaning. Robin strained 
his ears to distinguish the other's reply. "Friend," said 
Number Two, at last, and speaking in a smooth, milky sort 
of way, "friend, I would rather counsel you to adopt a 
persuasive argument with the Scarlet Knight, should we 
chance on him. I would have no violence done, an it may 
be avoided, being a man opposed to lawlessness in heart, as 
you know. It is my eternal misfortune which has brought 
me to this life." 

"Tush! 'tis for murder of an old man at York! I know 
your story, Roger; seek not to impose upon me." 

"He was a Jew, dear friend, and did grievously provoke 
me. But we have a matter in hand. This man has doubt 
less been sent in to spy upon us. I have no belief in the faith 
of these Norman nobles. Further, he has upon his head a 
goodly sum of money, as I well know. Wherefore, if chance 
should yield him to our hands, it would seem right and proper 
that we should bind him." 

"Ay, hard and fast, Roger. You have it." 

"Bind him with a vow, Micah, but not with ropes and 
wickedness. Yet should your dagger inadvertently prick 
him " 

"Be sure that it will, Roger. Some inward voice warns 
me that it will." 



The other made a sign to the last speaker to speak more 
quietly. Robin cocked his ears in vain, but he had heard 
enough to show him that the shadow of a great evil was stalk 
ing behind his cousin, and without further thought decided 
that he must save him. 

The two villains stood together a plaguey time perfecting 
their plans, and Robin dared scarcely breathe. Once, when 
he attempted to wriggle his way through the bracken, at the 
first sound of movement both men had become utterly silent, 
showing that they had heard and waited to hear again. 

"A squirrel, friend," said the one called Roger at last, and 
Robin took heart again. 

However, knowing that presently they must espy his jennet 
tethered by the road, Robin became desperate. He writhed 
his body snake-like through the ferns until he came to the edge 
of the brook; then, covered by the noise of the falling water, 
essayed to creep up the course of the stream. 

The distance from the road could scarcely have been two 
hundred ells, but it seemed to Robin more like to a league. 
He got his feet and legs wet and bemired; and cut his hands 
over the rocks about the brook. Yet he came nearer and 
nearer still to the roadway without having given alarm. 

Robin saw at length the close turf which bordered the road, 
and spied his little grey horse. Forthwith he rose to his feet 
and made a bold dash for it. 

The jennet was untethered and Robin upon its back in a 
flash ; then the lad heard the whizz of an arrow past him. He 
bent his head down close to the neck of his jennet and whis 
pered a word into its ear. The little mare, shaking herself 



suddenly to a gallop, understood; and now began a race be 
tween bow and beast. 

These outlaws were no common archers, for sure. Twice 
did their shafts skim narrowly by Robin and his flying steed; 
the third time a sudden pricking told the youth that he was 
struck in the back. 

He had no time for thought of pain. Everything depended 
on the beast under him. He pressed his legs softly but firmly 
against her streaming sides. 

She was more swift in the end than the cruel arrows. Robin 
saw the countryside flashing by him through a cloud of dust; 
saw that Nottingham gate was reached; that a party with 
surprised faces watched his furious approach. The little 
mare swayed and rolled as she went, and Robin came to the 
ground, with the outlaw's arrow still in him. He was con 
scious that someone ran to him and lifted him tenderly: he 
perceived dimly, through circling blackness, the anxious face 
of Stuteley. 

"Are you hurt, dear master?" he seemed to see, rather 
than hear, him say. 

Then Stuteley, Nottingham, and reason fled swiftly to 
gether, and the day became as night. 



WHEN he recovered himself Robin found them bind 
ing his shoulder. He smiled up at Warrenton to 
show that the hurt was little. "Are we too late for 
the joustings, Will?" he murmured, spying out Stuteley's face 
of concern. 

"We are to bring back the golden arrow with us which the 
Sheriff has offered as prize to the best marksman," answered 
Warrenton, before the other could speak. "Now, you are 
to remember all that I have shown you, and shoot in confi 
dence. Now come: the gates of Nottingham are opened, 
and your wound is neatly bandaged. Here is the arrow 
plucked from it: keep it for a trophy." 

"Is it a pretty shaft, Warrenton?" asked Robin, carelessly, 
as the old servant thrust it into his quiver. 

"It is one of Will's own, and that suffices." 

After Master Ford had briefly bidden them farewell, they 
left their beasts in charge of a fellow inside the gate, bidding 
him give the little grey jennet all care and attention. 

Here, also, Robin got himself washed and made tidy for 
the Fair, and had some meat and drink to restore him. He 
found that it was to the long Norman cape he wore that he 
owed his life. The outlaw's arrow had been diverted by the 
flapping garment, and had only pricked him in the fleshy part 
of his shoulder. The cape was so ripped, however, as to be 
come ridiculous in its rags, so Robin asked for the loan of a 



pair of shears, and with them trimmed the cape so ruthlessly 
in his haste as to make it become more like an old woman's 

"You have turned Saxon out of Norman very suddenly, 
master," laughed young Stuteley. 

It was a full three hours past noon ere they came to the 
Fair. A great ring had been made in the centre of it, and huge 
wooden stands had been built about this circle. They were 
covered finely with cloth of red and gold; and many flags and 
banners were flying above the tops and about the stands. 

The blare and discord of trumpets rang out over the noise 
of the people. A great clamor of voices betokened the arrival 
of some great man at the front of the chief stand. 

"The Sheriff has arrived," cried Stuteley, who knew the 
ways at these affairs. "Hear how the people do cheer him! 
For sure he must be a man well liked " 

"These fellows will applaud anyone who has power and 
office," said Warrenton, scornfully. "Master Monceux is not 
beloved of them, for all that. But hasten, or we shall be shut 
out. Already they are closing the gates." 

The clouds were heavy and grey, and a few large drops of 
rain began to patter down. 

"Look to our bows, Warrenton," cried Robin, in alarm. 

"Be easy, lording your bow shall not be at fault if the 
prize does not fall to your hand. Follow me." 

They were now at the wicket, and Warrenton produced 
his authority. Gamewell's name was enough. They were 
ushered into a small box near by the Sheriff's own, and there 
awaited events. 



First came bouts of single-stick and quarter-staff, and 
Master Will was keen to take part in these contests. War- 
renton counselled him to remain in the background, however. 

"The folk are sure to recognize you, malapert," said he, 
giving Stuteley his favorite name for him, "and there will be 
an outcry. Let be, then, and attend to your master." 

"It would be better, Will, I do think," said Robin. "I 
have to find out cousin Geoffrey, and warn him against two 
villains waiting for him without the town." And Robin gave 
them briefly the history of his adventure. 

Ere he had ended the story, the Sheriff held up his baton 
as a sign that the jousting would begin. Two knights rode 
into the ring through the hastily opened gates, heralded by 
their esquires amid the noise of a shrill blast of defiance. 
They were clad in chain-mail, bound on and about with white 
riband, and their armor was burnished in a manner most 
beautiful to behold. Their esquires threw down their gaunt 
lets before the box of Master Monceux, and challenged the 
world to a trial of strength in these the lists-magnificent of 
Nottingham town. 

Two black knights had ridden into the lists in answer to 
the challenge; and now all clamor was hushed. The Sheriff's 
daughter, a pale, hard-faced girl, with straw-colored hair and 
mincing ways, announced in inaudible voice the terms of the 
contest. The heralds repeated them afterwards in stentorian 
tones; and the rivals wheeled about, the white knights couch 
ing their lances from under the Sheriff's box. The others pre 
pared themselves at the wicket-gate and waited for the signal. 

This was given, and the four rushed together with a shock 



like a thunder-clap. These four knights gave good account of 

The black knights had been unhorsed, and now they lay 
helpless in their heavy armor. Once on their feet, they were 
eager to renew the fray, and were soon again in readiness. At 
the second tilt they rudely unhorsed the white knights by 
sheer strength of arm; and all the people shouted themselves 

So the jousting went on; and, after the white knights had 
eventually won the first round, yellow and red took their 
places. Robin eagerly scanned the latter, trying to discover 
which of the two might be Geoffrey. A small, thin-faced man 
behind the Sheriff was no less eager to discover Montfichet in 
this favorable apparel; and evidently had sharper eyes than 
had Robin in piercing disguise. This wizened-faced fellow 
leaned back with satisfied smile, after one searching glance; 
then, drawing out his tablets, he wrote on them, and des 
patched his man in haste to London town. 

Geoffrey was unhorsed in the second tilting; and lay so 
long upon the ground that Robin's heart stood still. It was 
then discovered that this knight was unknown and had no 
esquire. Thus Robin knew him for his cousin. 

"Attend him, Will, as you would myself," cried Robin, 
anxiously, "and see now to his hurt " 

"He is but dazed, master, with his fall. It seems that 
these knights are armored so heavily that once down they 
cannot of themselves rise up again! Protect me from such 
war-gear! I'd sooner have my own skin and be able to be 
spry in it. What say you, old Warrenton?" 



"Go to, malapert. Get down to him, and be as active 
with your hands as you are with your tongue." 

"I go, I go see how I go!" and Will turned a somersault 
over him into the ring out of the front of their box. Robin 
called angrily on him to behave, and the little tumbler ran 
then to his duties as servant to the unknown Scarlet Knight. 

Robin's eager eyes roved hither and thither about the gay 
scene. Opposite him was a small box near to the ground, 
wherein sat two people only. One was a grave-faced man of 
courtly mien and handsome apparel: the other seemed to be 
his child. 

Towards one of these two persons Robin's glances for ever 
wandered. The laughing blue eyes of the girl, the queer little 
toss of her head which she gave in her unheard answers to her 
sober father, heartily pleased young Fitzooth, and in some way 
vaguely disturbed his memory. She was of about fifteen sum 
mers; and her hair was black as a winter's night and curled 
all waywardly around her merry face. Blue were her eyes 
when the quick fever induced by the tilting rushed in her 
blood blue as meadow violets. Then, when the excitement 
was passed, they fell to a grey wonderment. Twice she en 
countered Robin's glances ; and the second time her eyes shone 
blue, as if ashamed, and the tint of her warm cheeks deepened. 
Demurely she turned away her face from him. 

Young Fitzooth turned to Warrenton: "Can you tell me 
who these may be who sit alone in yon little box?" he asked, 
and cautiously pointed them out to the old retainer. 

Warrenton was stupid, however, and would not see exactly 
where Robin would have him look. At last, as one making 



a discovery: "Oh, 'tis Master Fitzwalter you mean, lording? 
Ay, a right worthy, honest gentleman; and warden of the city 
gates. Next of importance in Nottingham town is he after 
Monceux, the Sheriff; and a prettier man in all ways. Now, 
were he Sheriff, Squire George of Gamewell would oftener be 
in Nottingham Castle than now, for we like not the Sheriff. 
The maid with Master Fitzwalter is his only child. She has 
no mother; and he is both parents to her. Ay, a proper 

"She is very beautiful, J think," said Robin, speaking his 
thoughts almost without knowing it. 

" Yes, yes, a passable wench. But I have no faith in them, 
lording. They are all as the Yellow One of Gamewell. They 
smile upon you that they may work their will ; and evil comes 
of their favor, if not death. Now see " 

"You are crabbed, indeed, Warrenton; and I'll hear no 
more. Do you know her name?" 

"Fitzwalter, lording. Did I not say this was his child?" 

"Has she no other name?" persisted Robin, patiently. 

"Oh, ay . . . let me see. 'Tis Judith, or Joan, or 
some such name. Mayhap, 'tis Catherine. I do misremem- 
ber it, lording: but 'tis surely of no account. The archery is 
now to begin; and here I would have you give heed '' 

He recommenced his cautions, warnings, and hints being 
anxious that Robin should shine to-day for Gamewell's sake. 

Robin saw that the jousting was done, and that, after all, 
the red knights were conquerors. It fell to Geoffrey to ride 
forward and accept the coveted laurel wreath. Dipping his 
lance, Geoffrey caused his charger to bend its knees before 



the regal-looking box: and Master Monceux, after an inflated 
speech, placed the circlet of bays upon the end of Geoffrey's 
lance. Then the unknown knight for a brief instant raised 
his vizor. The lean-faced man near to the Sheriff's right hand 
exchanged a quick glance of understanding with the knight. 

The Sheriff nodded to give the knight to understand that 
he was satisfied. With closed visor the scarlet one then paced 
his steed slowly and in quiet dignity around the lists, followed 
dutifully by Stuteley, until they had returned to the Monceux 
box. Again saluting gracefully, he extended his lance, with 
the wreath still depending from it, towards the Sheriff, as it 

"Does he return the wreath, and wherefore?" asked Robin, 
in puzzled voice. 

"To her to whom the wreath is yielded our Sheriff will 
award the title of Beauty's Queen," explained Warrenton. 
'Tis a foolish custom. Master Geoffrey, in this matter of 
etiquette, knows that the trifle should go to young Mistress 
Monceux. Otherwise, the Sheriff would have him beaten, 
no doubt; or injured in some shameful way upon his depar 
ture from the lists." 

"So that is the rule of it, eh, Warrenton?" said Robin. "I 
would like to choose my own Queen " 

"It matters not one jot or tittle to young Master Mont- 
fichet. See the wreath has been duly bestowed and the 
Sheriff will announce his girl Queen, until the night, of Beauty 
in all Royal Nottingham. There will be some further mum 
mery when the golden arrow is won. Doubtless, the winner 
will have to yield it up to Monceux's girl again, on a pretence 



that all is hers, now she is Queen. So shall my lord the Sheriff 
keep his prize after all; and be able to offer it again next 
year ", 

Robin checked the garrulous old man with a gesture. 

"Now give me my bow, Warrenton," commanded young 
Fitzooth, somewhat roughly; "and do you tell me how I am 
to enter myself in the lists." 

"Your esquire should announce you," returned the other, 
respectfully. "See, here he comes " 

"The Red Knight would thank you, master, for your 
courtesies," said Stuteley, approaching Robin. "He will wait 
for us at Nottingham gate; and prays that you will accept the 
chargers of the unhorsed knights from him. They are his by 
right of conquest, as you know." 

"I will accept them, and thank him for the gift," returned 
Robin, briefly, guessing that this was the reply that Geoffrey 
would desire him to make. " Now tell the heralds that Robin 
of Locksley will enter for the Sheriff's prize. Give no more of 
my name than that, Will," he added warningly, in a lower 

Stuteley vanished, and Robin turned again to the lists. 
The Sheriff's daughter had already been crowned, and sat 
now in supercilious state in the Sheriff's own seat. Geoffrey 
had gone, and Fitzwalter's box was empty. 

"I'll not shoot at all," said "Robin, suddenly. "Go, War 
renton, bring back Stuteley to me. I have changed my mind 
in the matter." 

"Does your wound fret you, lording?" asked Warrenton, 

solicitously. "Forgive me that I should have forgot " 



"Nay 'tis not that at all. I have no wish to shoot. 
Fetch Will to me." 

It was too late. Stuteley had already given in Robin's 
name to the heralds, and signified that he would shoot first 
of all. He came into the box even as Warrenton went out for 

Half-angrily, Robin took the bow from the retainer's hands 
and slung his quiver about him. He strode moodily across the 
lists to the spot where the other archers had already gathered. 
When they saw this youngling with his odd little cape pre 
paring himself, they smiled and whispered together. Robin 
strung his bow and slipped an arrow across it. 

The crowd became suddenly silent, and this nerved the lad 
to be himself once more. He forgot his momentary vexation 
and aimed carefully. His arrow flew surely to the target and 
struck it full in the middle. "A bull! A bull!" roared War 
renton and Stuteley, together. Robin stepped back. 

"None so bad a shot, master," said the next archer to 
him, in a quiet tone. " You have provided yourself now with 
a truer shaft, I ween?" 

It was Will o' th' Green, with stained face and horse-hair 
beard. His eyes challenged Robin's in ironical defiance, as 
he moved to take his turn. His aim seemed to be made with 
out skill or desire to better Robin's shot; yet his arrow found 
resting-place side by side with the other. 

The mob cheered and applauded themselves hoarse; while 
the markers scored the points evenly to these first two archers. 

These two stood apart, silent amidst the din. Once Will 
seemed to be about to speak: then changed his mind. He 



glanced side-long at young Stuteley and Warrenton; then 
hummed a ballad-tune under his breath. 

The contest went on and the first round came to an end. 
Out of twenty and three rivals nineteen had scored bulls at 
this range. The markers gave the signal to the heralds, and 
these announced the results with loud flourishings. 

The target was taken down and the range increased. The 
range of the mark from the archers for the second round 
was fixed at forty ells the same distance as had chanced 
before between Robin and Master Will when in the green 
wood together. The outlaw offered to shoot first; but the 
heralds requested them to keep in the same order as in the 
preceding round. 

Robin fitted his arrow quietly and with some confidence 
to his bow, then sped it unerringly towards the target. "A 
bull! Another bull to Locksley!" cried out Warrenton, in 
stentorian tones, and the fickle mob took up the cry: "Locks- 
ley! A Locksley!" with gusto. 

Will aimed with even more unconcern than before. His 
arrow took the center fairly and squarely, however; and was 
in reality a better shot than Robin's. The shafts were with 
drawn; then the other contestants followed. This round 
brought down the number of competitors to five. The 
markers carried back the target to a distance of five-and-fifty 
ells; and truly the painted circles upon it seemed to be now 
very small. 

Robin again took his stand, but with some misgiving. 
The light was uncertain, and a little fitful wind frolicked 
across the range in a way very disturbing to a bowman's 



nerves. His eyes half-anxiously addressed themselves to that 
box wherein he had spied Mistress Fitzwalter. 

His heart leaped she had returned, and her strange gaze 
was fixed upon him ! Robin drew his bow and flew his shaft. 
Unconsciously he used the arrow plucked from his own shoul 
der by Warren ton. 

Again did he gain the center, amid the cries and jubilations 
of Stuteley and the old retainer. 

"Now Master Roughbeard, better that!" shouted War- 

The outlaw smiled scornfully and made ready. He drew 
his bow with ease and a pretty grace, and made a little gesture 
of confidence as his agile fingers released the arrow. It leaped 
forth rushingly towards the target, and all eyes followed it in 
its flight. 

A loud uproar broke forth when the markers gave their 
score an inner circle, and not a bull. Master Will made an 
angry signal of disbelief; and strode forward down the lists 
to see for himself. It was true: the wind had influenced a 
pretty shot just to its undoing, and Will had to be content with 
the hope that the same mischance might come to Robin or 
any of the other bowmen before the round was ended. 

The outlaw wished especially to win that he might have 
the satisfaction of vexing the Sheriff of Nottingham. Will 
had intended to send back this prize a golden arrow from 
his stronghold of Sherwood, snapped into twenty pieces, with 
a letter of truculent defiance wrapped about the scraps. He 
wished to make it plain to Master Monceux that the free 
archers of Sherwood were better men than any he might bring 


against them, and that they despised him very heartily. Now 
that he saw a likelihood of his being beaten his heart grew hot 
within him. 

"Be not too sure of it, stripling," said he, as he returned 
to Robin's side. "Fortune may mar your next shot, as she 
has mine " 

" "Tis like enough, friend," answered Robin, smiling; "and 
yet I do hope that the arrow may be won by my hand. This 
is our second test, Master Will," he added, in a low voice. 
"Forget it not the freedom of the greenwood is the reward 
that I do seek even more than my lord the Sheriff's golden 

The outlaw's anger went suddenly from him. 

"Then I do wish you God-speed, youngling," he said, 
brightly. "You have in truth beaten me right honestly 
for mine was an ill-judged shot." 

With Will out of it, the contest came to an easy conclu 
sion; and presently the Sheriff's arrow was duly awarded to 
Robin of Locksley by the markers. 

The lad came forward shyly to receive the prize. 

"Master Monceux thinks that you should shoot once more 
with the second archer," said someone to him, leaning from the 
Sheriff's box. Looking up, Robin espied the lean-faced man 
smiling disagreeably down at him. 

"Let my lord state the terms of this new contest, then," 
answered Robin, "and the reason for't." 

'Tis said that you were over-favored by the wind and by 
the light." 

An angry answer was upon the lad's lips: but he checked 



himself, and with slow dignity turned and went back to where 
the archers stood grouped together. Soon as he made known 
to him the difficulty which the Sheriff had raised, Will o' th' 
Green became furious. 

"Locksley, have none of this trumpery prize," cried he, 
in loud anger. "I do deny my right to any share in it, or to 
a fresh contest. Nor will I shoot again. Let Monceux vex 
his brain as he may with rules and conditions they are not 
for Roughbeard, or for you. We have our own notions of 
right and justice; and since the Sheriff is loth to part with the 
prize that he has offered why, yield it back to him, friend 
and take the reward from me that you coupled with it." 

Other indignant protests were now heard from amongst 
the onlookers: and the Sheriff saw that he had raised a storm 
indeed. "Locksley! Robin Locksley!" was shouted noisily 
round and about; and Warren ton and Stuteley busily fostered 
the tumult. Master Monceux at last bade the heralds an 
nounce that Robin of Locksley had won the golden arrow 
since the archer who had made nearest points to him did not 
desire nor seek a further trial. 

"Were it necessary, lording," muttered old Warrenton, 
"I would show you how to notch the arrow of the best archer 
here about a merry trick, and one that I learned in Lanca 
shire, where they have little left to learn of archery, for 

"Nay," put in Roughbeard, loudly, "the arrow is his with 
out need of further parleyings. I do admit myself beaten 
this day though on another occasion we will, perchance, re 
verse our present positions. Take or leave the arrow as you 



will, Locksley. For my part I would love to prick Monceux 
with it heartily." 

"You talk wisely, friend," said Warrenton, approvingly, 
"and, as for making a match with you, why, that will we to 
day. Do you ride with us to Gamewell and there you shall 
have archery and to spare." 

"Ay, and a welcome, too!" commenced Robin; then 
paused suddenly, remembering who Roughbeard really was. 
Montfichet of Gamewell entertaining Will o' th' Green ! 

The outlaw merely laughed good-humoredly at the lad's 

"Go, take the Sheriff's prize; and vex him in some way, 
if you can, in the accepting of it!" 

Again Robin walked forward towards the Monceux box; 
this time with flashing eyes and a resolve in his heart. 

"Robin of Locksley," said the Sheriff, scarce looking at 
him, "here is my golden arrow which I have offered as reward 
to the best bowman in this Fair. You have been accorded the 
prize; and I do yield it to you with sincere pleasure. Take 
the bauble now from our daughter's hand, and use the arrow 

The heralds blew a brazen blast, and the demoiselle Mon 
ceux, with a thin smile, held out to Robin upon a silk cushion 
the little shining arrow which now was his. Bowing, and on 
one knee, Robin took up the glittering trophy. 

"Surely 'tis a plaything more suited to a lady's hair than 
to an archer," murmured the lean-faced man, who stood close 
by. Catching Robin's eye, he made a significant sign, as who 
would say: "Here is the Queen who would adorn it." 



Robin had that other notion in his mind, however, and saw 
that now the moment had arrived in which it should be put 
into execution. Somehow, he contrived to bring himself be 
fore the small low box wherein, half -startled, sat the maid 

"Lady," stammered the young archer, bowing to her, "do 
you please accept this little arrow which I have won. It is 
a pretty thing; but of small use to me. Maybe you could 
make some ornament with it " 

Then he could go no farther; but dumbly held it out to her. 

The girl, having seen that her father was not unwilling, 
stretched out and took the Sheriff's arrow from Robin's shak 
ing hands. 

"Thanks to you, Robin o' th' Hood," she said, with that 
roguish little toss of her dark curls; "I'll take the dart, and 
wear it in memory of Locksley and this day!" Her eyes 
looked frankly into his for a brief instant; then were hid by 
her silky lashes. 

Robin, with bounding heart, walked proudly back to where 
old Warrenton stood, glowing; and the people thunderingly 
applauded the archer's choice. 

"Right well was it done, Locksley!" roared the outlaw, 
near forgetting himself. "I love you for it." For he saw 
only that the Sheriff had been slighted, and cries of: "A 
Locksley!" were renewed again and again. 

Master Monceux looked furiously at this archer who had 
taken the prize with only the briefest word of thanks to him: 
and would have spoken, had not his daughter, with chilling 
gesture, forbidden it. She gave no outward symptom of the 



anger stirring within her: she wore her worthless but royal 
crown of bay, whilst the other toyed thoughtfully with the 
golden arrow, and wondered who the gallant giver of it might 

Robin, Warrenton, Stuteley, and Roughbeard rode to 
wards the gate of Nottingham on the horses of the defeated 
knights. They had decided to stay no longer at the Fair: 
the noisy play and mock-joustings that were to follow the 
archery had no attraction for them. 



THIS escort saved Geoffrey from the attack planned upon 
him by the two treacherous robbers. They spied him 
out, and followed the small cavalcade throughout the 
journey, but at a respectful distance, uttering deep threats 
against the lad who had warned the knight of their evil intent. 
So, whilst making friends, Robin also made enemies : but none 
so bad as that cold-faced woman of Nottingham Castle. She 
had recognized in Robin of Locksley the youth who had come 
with old Montfichet on the first day of the Fair. 

Near by Gamewell, Roughbeard called a halt. He had 
been strangely silent, being over doubtful. 

"Farewell, friends," said he, doffing his cap to them. 
"Here our roads do part, for I must go further through the 

"I, too, have that direction before me, if so be that you 
are travelling westward," said Geoffrey to him, with well- 
assumed diffidence, and speaking through his casque. He 
had known the outlaw at once; but had forborne to show it, 
scarce dreaming that Robin also had pierced Will's disguise. 

Robin became busy in his thoughts when he saw his cousin 
and Roughbeard riding off together like this. That secret 
way from the hut which led into Sherwood; the two villains 
who had plotted against Geoffrey why, all was clear ! Geof 
frey now was with them of the forest; had been seeking to 



influence Master Will; no doubt the red trappings upon which 
he had laid such stress were as a signal to someone. To whom? 
And to what end? 

Geoffrey had been cool towards Robin when warned of 
those scheming against him. "I can protect myself against 
such rabble, cousin," was all he would say. "But I would 
thank you for bidding your lad to me in the joustings; it was 
a matter I had overlooked that one must have an esquire. I'll 
not forget the courtesy." 

That was all. He had shrunk back into himself again; 
and with closed visor had ridden silently beside them. Yet 
he was not ungrateful; and had begun to like Robin very 
honestly, only Geoffrey Montfichet must be very sure of his 
man ere he would unbend to him. 

It was already nigh on dusk as Robin rode into the court 
at Gamewell in dreaming abstraction. His thoughts had 
sprung back again from Geoffrey to the blue-eyed maid: and 
in cloudlands he saw himself her knight. Wondrous and 
mighty would be the deeds that he should perform for her dear 
sake did she bid him to them. 

Then he remembered Broad weald, and how he had sworn 
within himself to set his life to win that, for his father's hap 

Ay: but surely in the winning of Broadweald there might 
chance smaller prizes, which properly he might yield for a 
smile from this fair maid? Or again, might not he battle 
for the two together? 

" Robin, Robin !" He heard old Montfichet's voice, calling 
from the shadow of the porch. "Where are you, child? I 



did not espy you at the bridge. Come here, boy, and let me 
tell to you something of sorrow. There has befallen a sad mis 
chance to your father at Locksley 

"Sir, sir," cried poor Robin, waking suddenly, "tell me 
not that he is dead!" He sprang hastily from his grey steed 
and ran towards the Squire. 

"No, not that." 

"Ah, but my heart forewarns me. He has been hurt by 
some beast? It is the season when the deer are wild." 

"Master Fitzooth has been attacked by a great stag near 
by your home. That is all we know of it, child; and I give 
it you plainly at once, that you may hear the worst. Your 
mother has already gone to him, with the clerk and a full two 
score of men. For the captain of the foresters has kindly 
joined forces with mine own fellows; so that no further harm 
may befall." 

"I'll follow her, sir. Give me leave to go." 

" 'Twere wiser to wait till morning, boy. What could you 
do now? Mayhap we fret ourselves too much, as 'tis. But 
you shall go, with Warrenton and your esquire, when morning 
is here. Ay, and I will come too; and we will bring with us 
the most skilful leech in Nottingham. I have already sent 
a messenger to him, an hour since, so soon as the dame had 

"I like not my mother having been sent for, sir. That 
shows me that the hurt is deadly. To think that I was play 
ing so foolishly at the moment when I might have been of use 
to him!" 

So rudely ended Robin's dreaming. 



In the morning they set out for Locksley; the Squire with 
the leech, and six mules bearing such delicacies as old Game- 
well's generous mind could think upon. Warrenton headed 
a full score of men, for fear of the outlaws; and they took a 
litter with them to bring Master Fitzooth to Gamewell. 

The dame met them at the latch-gate which Robin knew 
so well. Her face was deathly pale and her mouth quivered 
as she tried to frame a welcome to them. 

"Mother!" cried Robin, in anguished voice, running to 
her; and there was no need for further speech. In that one 
cry and in the expression of her mute, answering face, the 
truth was told and understood. No use to fight for Broad- 
weald now; were it his a hundred times over, Robin could 
never do that with it which he in all his boyhood had planned. 
Hugh Fitzooth, Ranger of the Forest of Locksley, was dead. 

The good Clerk of Copmanhurst, who had appeared from 
within the cottage, told the story of Fitzooth's death. Fitz 
ooth had been alone when the huge wild stag had attacked 
him; was near his death when discovered by two of his men. 
He had regained consciousness only at the sound of his wife's 
voice; had kissed her with fainting breath; and, having la 
bored to send Robin a message of love and pride in him, had 
gradually faded in spirit until the dawn. 

It was an unhappy ending to a life soured by disappoint 
ment; yet somehow this man had managed to win a way into 
the hearts of many people. The few villagers of Locksley 
all had their tender word or humble tribute of affection to offer 
the dame and her sorrowing son; and thus much of the edge 



of their grief was blunted. Until the interment the priest 
stayed with them, and so did old Gamewell, who paid all the 
fees and expenses inevitable in consequence of Fitzooth's 

Afterward, the Squire would have them go back to Game- 
well with him; but Robin had determined to ask for his father's 
post. This bitter time made the lad into a man suddenly. It 
was the evening of the day when they had laid Fitzooth to rest 
in the little churchyard of Locksley that Montfichet returned 
again to talk of his plan of making Robin his heir. 

The old man argued reasonably and well; and Robin lis 
tened in silence until he was done. Then, "Very generously 
and indulgently have you talked with us, sir," said Robin, 
"and sure thing it is that we owe you such debt as I can never 
hope to pay. Yet I cannot feel that 'twould be a man's part 
to live an idle life. Surely I should do something, sir, to win 
the right to wear your name? Moreover, I must not forget 
that there is another nay, hear me, sir thine own son, 
whose birthright I should be stealing away from him." 

"Boy," interrupted old Gamewell, on a sudden resolution, 
"will you share Gamewell with me as Geoffrey's brother, then? 
If so be this way out of it will meet your objections, I'll sink 
my prejudice. Geoffrey shall go halves with you." 

"That were the course nearer to my heart, sir; and yet 
not all that I would desire. I have no right to talk to you so 
openly; but the matter is, in a manner, forced upon me." 

"It is agreed then, Robin?" cried the Squire, eagerly. 
" And so you will take your mother's olden name and become 

Montfichet of Gamewell?" 



"I would rather serve the King here for one year, at least," 
said Robin, arguing still. "You might think better on't, sir. 
Let me try my strength or weakness; and find out myself for 
myself. My father would have wished me to fight my own 
way in the world." 

"The lad speaks soothly, Squire," said the clerk, inter 
posing, "and I would counsel you to agree to his notions. 
Moreover, he has not yet finished his studyings with myself 
in the Latin tongue." 

"Leave me young Stuteley and Warrenton, sir, and your 
blessing, and let me win bread for my mother and myself for 
twelve months from to-day. Then, if I may, and you wish, 
I'll come humbly to you." Robin went over to him. "And 
believe me always as being very grateful, sir. I would that 
I might not seem obstinate in this." 

" Have it so, then, Robin. I'll bear your letter to Monceux 
myself, and rally him about the arrow which you won!" 

"Will the Sheriff appoint me, then?" asked Robin, a trifle 

"He will advise the King in the matter. 'Tis but a form. 
The post of Ranger of Locksley is yours, merely for the asking. 
Who could gainsay your right to it? Give me the letter; 
and I will be your messenger. I go to-morrow to Gamewell, 
and will journey to Nottingham the next day. Now, since I 
understand that this holy man would wish to see you alone, 
and I would like to talk with your mother, I'll leave you, boy. 
Count me always as friend, Robin Fitzooth Montfichet." 

He added the last word half -enquiringly, half -lovingly ; 
and twinkled to the clerk to see how Robin might take it. But 



the lad made no reply beyond kissing the old man's fingers very 
respectfully and tenderly; and with a sigh, old George of 
Gamewell offered his arm to the dame, who had silently lis 
tened throughout the discussion. 

Left alone, the clerk approached Robin. "Now, boy, 
what I have to say is soon told. Know then that I have 
learned of your adventures with the Scarlet Knight; and that 
he is in league with Will o' th' Green. Further, I have had 
it whispered to me that he is none other than Geoffrey of Mont- 
fichet. It matters not how this knowledge came to me; I do 
but seek to warn you to tread gently and warily in the days 
now before you. So far, life has been kind to you, and surely 
there is no reason why you should not prosper very exceed 
ingly. There is for you a good friend in Gamewell's Squire." 

"And one also at Copmanhurst, father." 

"Assuredly, boy. But I am a poor anchorite and one un 
able to help you, save by friendly counsel. Take heed not to 
touch Montfichet too nearly in the matter of his son," added 
he, warningly; "he is a strange man, and will brook no med 

"I would not see Geoffrey wronged, father, not even by 
Robin of Locksley," said Robin, vehemently. 

The clerk smiled at him. "You may coax the Squire, 
an you will, boy," said he, twinkling; "for I do think that 
one may achieve more that way than by any other. But be 
careful not to let him see that you would lead him; and, above 
all, provoke him not. Montfichet is an obstinate man. His 
heart prompts him to forgive Geoffrey; and doubtless he 
could get the ban removed from off the young man's head. 



But the Squire will not readily forego his oath. So now, rest 
content that he will share Gamewell with Geoffrey and your 
self, and do not let him know that once you did deceive him." 

"Deceive him, father?" 

"Did you not go out secretly to meet the Scarlet Knight, 
boy? And do you not now hide from Gamewell that his son 
is in hiding with Will o' th' Green? Be prudent and tread no 
more in this path. Peace be with you, Robin Fitzooth; and 
discretion also." 

He bade Robin good night, and set out towards his lonely 
cell near St. Dunstan's shrine; leaving the other perplexed 
and distressed at his words. 

The first clouds on Robin's horizon were appearing. 



SQUIRE GEORGE left them next morning. He bade 
Warrenton stay at Locksley, and charged young Stute- 
ley to let him know if the dame or his master should 
want for aught. Then, having pressed some money upon his 
sister to meet their necessities, he bade them affectionate fare 

He took Robin's letter to Monceux, and added his own re 
quest to it, never doubting that so ordinary a matter as this 
would be long adoing. The Rangership of Locksley Woods 
was Robin's by every right : for the house and garden had been 
given to Hugh Fitzooth in perpetuity by the King. So at 
least they all had understood. 

Master Monceux, lord Sheriff of Nottingham, took the 
letters and read them with a thin smile; then bore them to his 
daughter's chamber, and laid them before her. "Truly the 
enemies of our King are not lacking in audacity," sneered 
Master Monceux, when Mistress Monceux had mastered the 

"What will you do?" asked she, curiously. 

"This is the young archer who won my arrow," remarked 
the Sheriff. "Robin Fitzooth of Locksley. Observe that his 
father has been killed by one of the King's deer; like as not 
whilst he was attempting to snare it. His son asks now for the 
post: this son who shoots with a peacocked arrow to win my 


"Say you so? Then this boy is of the outlaws of Sher 
wood?" Her thin lips parted over her white teeth in an evil 
doubt, as she asked her father: "How do you know that the 
arrow was winged with a peacock's feather? Did you see it 

"John Ford brought it to me." 

"Ford is a very untrustworthy knave. I would that some 
other of the foresters had told you." 

The Sheriff was vexed at this. "I have no hesitation in 
the matter, child. But give heed, for now I must either agree 
to this recommendation of my lord Montfichet, or refuse it 
because I have already appointed some other to the place. 
Can you not suggest a man to me?" 

"Let it be one distasteful both to Montfichet and to this 
boastful youth," said the demoiselle Monceux, eagerly. "Send 
Ford, or one of the scullions from our kitchen, that they may 
know our contempt for them. And bid the young archer to 
us here; he should be whipped and put in the stocks," she 
added, vindictively. 

"Will you reply to those scrolls then, child?" said the Sheriff, 
glad to be relieved of a task which he did not relish. "Let 
it be Ford; he is captain of the foresters hereabouts, and has 
been staying at Gamewell. I hear that young Locksley is not 
over-fond of him. But be discreet in your scrivening, and say 
only that which is necessary, child." 

"I will bring the letters when they are penned, and will 
read them to you," said his daughter. 

In due course, then, came the Sheriff's reply to Robin's 
request. It was couched in arrogant terms, and bade the 



youth report himself within ten days at Nottingham Castle in 
order that the question of his appointment to a post in the 
King's Foresters might be weighed and considered. As for 
the Rangership of Locksley, that had already been given to 
one Master John Ford, who would take up the duties so soon 
as Robin and Mistress Fitzooth could arrange to render him 
the house at Locksley and all it contained. To this end the 
Sheriff's messenger was empowered to take stock and inventory 
of all furniture and belongings and to make note of all things 
broken or in disrepair, since those would have to be counted 
against them when they left the place. 

Robin, not knowing the worse indignities that were to be 
fall did he come to Nottingham, for reply flung the letter into 
the messenger's face. 

"Go, take back this answer to your master," flamed the 
lad. "Locksley is my mother's and my own and not the 
Sheriff of Nottingham's. Further, tell him that I will ad 
minister Locksley Woods, and the men shall obey me even as 
they did my father : and this is all that I say in answer to your 
insolent lord." 

"Take this also, fellow," cried Stuteley, heroically: "that 
my master's squire will very instantly do battle on his behalf 
with all enemies at quarter-staff, single-stick, or at wrestling 
with the hands." 

"Be sure that you will need practice in all your tricks, 
friend," snarled the messenger, wrathfully; "Master Monceux 
will send you enough of pupils and to spare! And I will be 
glad to have a bout with you." 



"Now, if you sicken for't," said Will, valiantly; but Robin 
bade him be still. 

The messenger went back to Nottingham; and Robin con 
tinued to go about the duties of a ranger. 

On the fifth day after the man's visit, however, one of the 
Locksley foresters refused to obey young Fitzooth, saying 
that he had no right to command him. 

"I have this right, that you shall obey me!" cried Robin, 
and he bade Warrenton and Stuteley to seize the man and de 
prive him of his longbow and quiver. Nor would he suffer the 
forester to become repossessed of them until he had humbly 
asked pardon. Thereafter, seeing that this youth had a man's 
determination, the men remained loyal to him. 

Within ten days came Master Ford himself, at the head of 
ten fellows, armed with such powers of forcible entry as the 
Sheriff could grant. Robin received the forester civilly, but 
told him plainly that Locksley was his and that he would keep 
it to his death. 

Master Ford smiled very superior to these brave words. 
"Death, Master Robin, is a thing a long way off from us both, 
I do conceive," said he, "Therefore is there small valiance in 
your prating so lightly of it. This matter is one not between 
ourselves, howbeit, for the Rangership has come to me through 
no seeking of mine own. The quarrel, if there be one, is be 
tween yourself and Master Monceux; and, in reason, you 
should let me into possession here, and take your anger to 

"I speak to the Sheriff in that I speak to you, John Ford," 
retorted the lad: "and you have had your answer. Take 



back your men and yourself; be content with the captaincy 
of the foresters of Sherwood. This part of the forest will be 
administered, under the King's pleasure, by me." 

"What if I could show you the King's dismissal of your 
father?" snarled the other. 

"If you could show it to me, you would," answered Robin, 

"Nevertheless, I will show it to you, insolent," cried Mas 
ter Ford, losing his temper. "In Nottingham we can play at 
other games than those you saw at the Fair, Robin o' th' 
Hood," he went on, furiously, and giving Robin this name out 
of desire to prick him. 

To young Robin the epithet recalled a sudden vision of the 
maid Fitzwalter and her queer little toss of her curls as she 
had christened him. Ford must have been near to have over 
heard it. So was there double insult in his words. 

Robin looked him full in the face, and then turned contemp 
tuously from him. "Play all the games you know, friend," 
said he: and walked into the house. 

The forester bit his lip in vexation. He scarce knew how 
to act. The Sheriff had told him to take forcible possession 
of the house, but this might only be done now after a san 
guinary encounter. For Warrenton, the Squire of Gamewell's 
man, was there, and had eyed him malevolently, and talk 
with the Locksley foresters had shown them to be now ranged 
on Robin's side. 

After waiting for three hours, Master Ford set about a 
return into Nottingham, meaning to ask for permission to 
bring back the Sherwood foresters with him to Locksley. In 



his return he was met by Will o' th' Green and his men near 
Copmanhurst, was beaten and robbed of all he had, and sent 
back in ignominious fashion into Nottingham town he and 
all the ten men that the Sheriff had sent with him ! 

Master Ford made a fine story of this for the greedy ears 
of Mistress Monceux. She had always disliked the maid 
Fitzwalter; and had now seen a chance to injure her through 
Robin. Since he had given this girl the arrow which he had 
denied to her, the Sheriff's daughter, there could be no doubt 
that strong friendship, at the least, existed between them, so 
that any blow at Robin must recoil upon Mistress Fitzwalter. 

Demoiselle Monceux therefore credited largely Master 
Ford's story. 

"Go to the hall, and there await my father, Master Ford," 
said Mistress Monceux, at last. "I will speak again with 
him when he has returned from Gamewell. He is there now 
on your behalf, in a way," she added, meaningly. 

Monceux, knowing that Montfichet would require an ex 
planation of the refusal to instal Robin in his father's place, 
had set himself out to be beforehand with the Squire. At 
once he had endeavored to satisfy old Gamewell by telling 
him the story of the peacocked arrow. " Readily can I unfold 
that mystery to you," said Montfichet. "Our Robin was pur 
sued by two of the outlaws when on the way to your tourney. 
'Tis like enough that he picked up one of their arrows." 

"When they were in chase of him?" asked the Sheriff, with 
ready reply. 

"Well, that is true; and yet, stay I do mind me that the 
Clerk of Copmanhurst did speak of some shooting match in 

[ 103 ] 


which Robin was forced to employ himself with Will o' th* 
Green, on the day that they journeyed here from Locksley. 
Then it was that Robin must have become owner of the pea 
cocked arrow. The thing is quite plain to me." 

"The clerk himself has been suspected of colleaguing with 
these robbers of the forest, friend Gamewell," whispered the 
Sheriff, leaning forward towards the Squire. "And they do 
say that Will was at our tourney was none other, indeed, 
than the very Roughbeard from whom young Robin so cleverly 
did snatch my arrow of gold. Nay, nay, I think the evidence 
points very strongly against Fitzooth; yet since he is your 
nephew I have forborne to press my charge against him." 

"I'll believe no harm of Robin," said the Squire, decisively. 

"Still you will see there is reason in my refusal of his re 
quest," smiled Monceux. And old Gamewell had to agree, 
although unwillingly. 

So were the clouds upon Robin's horizon gathering apace. 

He gravely continued in his duties at Locksley, filling up 
his leisure with long and frequent practice in archery with 
Warrenton. A month went by and he had heard no more of 
Master Ford nor of the Sheriff, and so engrossed did. Robin 
become in his present life and the necessity of making a living 
for them all that Master Monceux, his summons, and his "ap 
pointment" of Ford were forgotten. 

He killed such of the deer as his father had, under the 
King's charter, for their own sustenance, and gathered the 
fruits from the garden at Locksley. There were cows to be 
milked and sheep to be sheared. 

The men worked for him without question. There had 



been no further rebellion since Warrenton and Stuteley had so 
promptly checked the first sign of it. 

The Squire had sent twice to them such presents as he 
knew they would accept, and he made no mention of Master 

Only one matter troubled Robin. Soon would come round 
the time when the emoluments of the Rangership would be 
due; and then Robin would have to face the Sheriff and make 
him pay the moneys. 

Having stifled any objections Montfichet might have had 
to his refusal to recognize Robin as Ranger, the Sheriff was 
quite content to bide his time, knowing that once in Notting 
ham, Robin would be entirely in his power. Unforeseen 
events, however, upset these schemes and hastened matters, 
even while Robin was perfecting himself in the use of the long 
bow under Warrenton and hi the art of wrestling with little 
lithe Stuteley. The lean-faced man whom he saw at the tour 
ney returned suddenly to Nottingham from London, bearing 
news to the Sheriff that he was to prepare the town at once for 
a visit from the young Prince John. 

Master Simeon Carfax, to give the lean-faced one his full 
style, bade them arrange for a great tourney to be held in 
Sherwood itself. 

" Certes, Prince John may well be King over us in the end," 
murmured the Sheriff to himself; and he dismissed all thought 
of Robin and his defiance. 

The Sheriff had some suspicion that Master Carfax had 
had more to do with this sudden visit of the erstwhile rebel 
lious Prince than that pinch-nosed gentleman would allow. 



Further, he saw with some misgiving that between Carfax and 
his own daughter there was an understanding, and he decided 
to speak firmly with her; but, as she was still vexed with him 
for not having dealt with young Fitzooth as promptly as she 
had designed, the Sheriff thought it wise to wait his opportunity. 

Meanwhile Robin passed his days equably: and now he 
could notch Warrenton's shaft at one hundred paces, a feat 
difficult in the extreme. 

The old retainer took huge delight in training the lad. "I 
do hear of a brave business in archery to be done in Sherwood 
Forest," he said, "and I would have you enter there in the 
lists, and bear away the Prince's bag of gold, even as you did 
the Sheriff's arrow." 

"Tell me of this, Warrenton," cried Robin, interested at 
once. "Where did you learn this item?" 

" 'Twas told to me a week agone by the Friar of Copman- 
hurst, a right worthy, pious gentleman," gabbled Warrenton. 
"It seems that the young Prince is already tired of London 
ways and the Court of his father the King, and has agreed to 
come here to us at Nottingham so that he may be more free. 
He brings with him many of the fine ladies of the Court; and 
full a hundred score of followers. And they do tell me that 
some of the barons are with him, Master Fitzurse to wit. 
Howbeit, 'tis no matter of ours. We have but to remember 
that he has offered a purse of a hundred pieces to the best bow 
man in Nottingham town. That purse should be yours, lording. " 

Robin smiled at the old man's emphatic speech. "When 
is this prize to be offered, Warrenton, and what other marvels 
are there to be?" 



The man-at-arms commenced afresh. "There is to be a 
tourney, held in Sherwood Forest." 

"Ay; but the archery?" 

"I have told you that the Prince offers a fine prize. Know 
also that he brings with him Hubert, the most renowned of all 
archers : so that he deems the prize already won. The Prince 
puts a hundred gold pieces into the purse, and Hubert pockets 
it in advance." 

"Is he a fair bowman, this Hubert?" 

"I know but one archer better than he, lording yourself; 
and I have seen the finest archery in the world." 

"You talk heedlessly, Warrenton," said Robin, rebuking 
him. Yet secretly he was flattered by this sincere belief in 

"I'll go with you to Nottingham and Stuteley shall stay 
here, on guard," said Robin. 

But Stuteley begged most earnestly that he should be al 
lowed to go also, so that Robin came nigh to giving up the 
plan all together. For he would not consent to leave the dame 

In the end Warrenton himself, with fine self-sacrifice, of 
fered to remain at Locksley. 

"It will be wisest that you should go unattended, after all, 
lording," concluded Warrenton. "Enter the lists unknown, 
unannounced, as though you were some forester. Master 
Monceux means no good to you, and surely he will be there. 
So be circumspect; and forget not the things that I have taught 
you. Beat Hubert if you can, but be not overcome if you 
should fail. He is a very pretty bowman, and experienced." 



PROFITING by a lesson learned from Will o' th' Green, 
Robin stained his face and bade Stuteley do the same 
ere starting to the Royal tourney. 

The morning was overcast and doubtful when the two lads 
set forth. They had put on foresters' clothes of green cloth, 
with long tunics and green trunk hose. Their hands and faces 
were brown as walnut juice could make them; and whilst 
Robin carried only his best longbow and a good quiver of 
arrows, young Will had loaded himself with quarter-staff, axe, 
and pike, all very difficult to carry. 

Robin bade him leave one or the other of these weapons, 
and reluctantly the pike was returned to Warrenton. Then 
merrily they started away through the forest, and came at 
noon to that glade where Robin had first met Will o' th' Green. 
Even while Robin wondered whether Will or his men might 
again demand toll of him, Master Will himself suddenly ap 
peared, and without a word placed his bow across their path. 

"Greetings to you, Will," said Robin, blithely. "Is it 
toll of us that you desire?" 

"Are you dumb, friend?" added Stuteley, impudently, as 
the outlaw made no immediate reply. 

Will smiled then. "So old Warrenton has persuaded you 
to seek the Prince's gold, youngling?" said he, at last. With 
out waiting an answer, he stepped back and withdrew his bow. 
"Pass, then, Locksley, and good fortune attend you," he went 



on. "We may meet again ere the day be done; but it is not 
sure " 

:< You will not try for the purse, Will?" cried Robin, as if 

"I have no use for it," answered Will, with some egotism, 
"Nay, fear not, our third trial is yet to come. I did but stay 
you to speak of your cousin " He paused, and glanced to 
wards Stuteley. 

"I am deaf and dumb as you were, friend, a minute agone," 
spoke the little esquire. 

"Your cousin, Geoffrey of Montfichet, has gone to France," 
continued Will, speaking freely so soon as Robin had nodded 
in confirmation of Stuteley 's discretion. "Like as not, Master 
Geoffrey has not talked with you as to his business with us in 
this greenwood?" 

"I know nothing beyond that we did bind my cousin's 
armor about with red ribbon," replied Robin, uneasily. He 
remembered the clerk's warning, and a presentiment of coming 
evil pricked him. "But I am right glad that Geoffrey has 
encountered no danger, and has given up his schemes with 


"I did not say that he had done that, Locksley," spoke 
Will, in his gruff way. "Nor do I see why you should fear 
danger for him when he is in my company." 

"I meant not that, Will, believe me," said Robin, hastily. 
"But there are two amongst your band who have little love 

for my cousin, and are jealous also of you " And he told 

him of his adventure in the early part of the day when they 
last had met. 



Will listened with a frown. "So they winged you, young 
ling, and yet for all that you won the Sheriff's arrow? Give 
me now some token whereby I may know which of my men 
are traitors." 

"I should only know their voices, Will," said Robin, re 

The outlaw shrugged. "It matters not, after all," he re 
marked, turning to leave them. "Go your ways, Locksley, 
and win the purse." 

"Is there no toll?" enquired Robin, smiling again. "Am 
I truly free of Sherwood, Will?" 

" 'Twould seem so, Locksley," said the outlaw, briefly. 
Then, without further ado, he strode away from him. 

They watched his lithe form disappear. 

" 'Tis sure that our disguise is none too good," sighed 
Robin, pondering upon the ready way in which the outlaw 
had recognized him. 

Soon afterward rain fell and a heavy storm raged amongst 
the trees. The two youths crept into the hollow of one of the 
larger oaks to shelter themselves. Whilst waiting there they 
heard the noise of an approaching cavalcade. It was a body 
of archers coming from Lincoln to compete for the purse of 

They cantered past the tree wherein Robin and Stuteley 
lay hidden, and took no heed of the drenching rain. All were 
merry with wine and very confident that one amongst them 
would surely win the prize. The only question was, Which 

"These Nottingham clods!" cried one, scornfully; "I'll 



dare swear that many of them have already promised the prize 
to their maids! Nottingham 'gainst Lincoln 'tis possible 
that they may stand to us for a round. But after that!" 

"We will spend the money in Nottingham town," shouted 
another of the trotting bowmen. " For sure the Prince himself 
could do no handsomer thing. A piece I'll toss to the heralds, 
and another to you, Staveley, for you are a covetous worm " 

The rest of his speech was lost through the one addressed 
turning violently upon him and thrusting at him with his pike, 
thus tumbling him into the mire. Stuteley laughed outright 
at this, and for a moment startled the rest of this worshipful 

Robin, rather vexed at his esquire's want of caution, came 
with him from out of the hollow of the tree. The Lincoln 
shire men halted, and Robin asked for a lift to the field where 
already the tourney was being commenced. 

"Are you going to the Sherwood tourney, and with a bow?" 
asked one of the archers, loftily. " What will you shoot there, 
gipsy boy? There are no targets such as your shafts might 
reach. But 'tis true that you may learn something of the 
game, if you should go." 

"I'll lay a crown wager with you, friends," said Stuteley, 
vexed to hear Robin called "gipsy," "that my master's shaft 
will fly more near the center of the mark than will any one of 
yours. So now." 

"A crown piece, gipsy! Why, that means twenty crowns 
for you to find," laughed another of the men, loudly. 

"Twenty crowns; why, he has not twenty pence," said 



"My man has laid the wager and I will stand to it," said 
Robin, quietly, "though I do not like such boasting, I promise 
you. Twenty crowns to twenty crowns who will hold the 
stakes? Here is my purse in warrant of my words." 

"Why, master, I am surely the very man to hold your 
purse!" called out the lately fallen champion, readily. "Ask 
any of them here and (if they have love of truth in them) they 
will say that Much the Miller is a man of men for honesty, 
sobriety, and the like! 'Tis known throughout Lincoln that 
never have I given short measure in all my life. Hand me 
the purse and be easy." 

"Show me your crown, friend," said Robin, eyeing him. 

" Now, stirrup me but I have given my last piece to a poor 
beggar whom we did meet in the wood." 

"Then I will hold my purse myself, Master Much," cried 
Robin, putting it quickly back into his bosom. "But have 
no fear; if you can beat me, I'll add my crown to the Prince's 
money-bag. We will meet you here, friends," he continued, 
"beside this very tree, at noon to-morrow, if I should win. If 
not, I'll yield this purse to the miller ere I leave the tourney, 
and he shall share it round. Is it agreed?" 

"I do think that you should pay for your travelling, gipsy, 
since you are so rich," grunted the first archer. "Here's half 
my saddle: I'll only ask a silver penny for a seat on it." 

"I'll take you for nought, gipsy," shouted Much, who really 
was very tipsy. "You've spoken fair; and I like you! Come, 
jump up behind me, and hold tight. This horse is one of most 
wayward character." 

"Hurry, then," said the leader. "Whilst we chatter here 



the tourney will be done; and we shall happen on it just as 
Hubert takes the prize. Forward, friends; quick march !" 

They rattled off at a smart pace. Robin mounted behind 
the good-natured Much, and Stuteley upon the captain's horse. 
The miller told Robin confidentially a full score of times that 
he, Much, was bound to win the archery contest, being ad 
mittedly the first bowman in the world. 

"Harkee, gipsy," called he at length, over the point of his 
shoulder to patient Robin behind him, "I'll not take your 
crown, I swear it ! I like you, and I would not rob your sweet 
heart of a penny piece. Buy ribbons for her, then, with the 
crown I give you." 

Robin expressed his thanks very cordially. This fellow 
seemed an honest-hearted rogue; and 'twas mainly to his furious 
urging of his steed that they arrived in time for the great event. 

As it was, all the jousting was done, and most of the nobles 
had already gone away. The Sheriff was fussily preparing 
himself to escort the Prince to the castle when the horns blew 
announcing the arrival of the Lincolnshire bowmen. 

They had pushed their way clumsily through the array of 
tents, and now blundered into the lists through the gate. 
Robin was glad indeed of his stained face and semi-disguise, 
not being over proud of his companions. He gave Will Stute 
ley a signal to detach himself from them, and come to his side. 
The two youths then hastened to the archers' stand. 

There had been three deaths already as a result of the joust- 
ings; and six others were seriously injured; yet the Prince 
looked far from being satisfied, and his glance strayed for ever 

to the gate. 



When the Lincoln men had come noisily trooping in, his 
face had lit up and his hand had made a half -movement to 
find the jewelled hilt of his sword. Master Carfax, too, had 
started to his feet in evident concern. 

When the heralds announced these new-comers, visible 
disappointment showed on the faces of the Prince and his fol 
lowers. Clearly they were eagerly expecting the appearance 
of other folk; but, quickly recovering himself, John re-found 
all the old elegance of his manners. He courteously acknowl 
edged the rough greeting of the archers, and sat back smilingly 
in his box. 

Master Monceux gave the signal for the archery contest 
to be begun; and Robin soon saw that the archers against 
him were men very different from those who had been at Not 
tingham Fair. 

When it came to the turn of the Prince's own bowman, 
Hubert of Normandy a man slim, conceited, and over 
dressed, but nevertheless a very splendid archer the first 
shaft flew so cleanly and so swift that it pierced the very mid 
dle of the target and stuck out on the other side full half its 

Robin had to shoot immediately after him, and waited a 
few moments whilst the markers were tugging at the Nor 
man's arrow. A sudden inspiration flashed across the lad's 
mind; and, advancing a step, he bade them desist. They 
wonderingly fell back, leaving Hubert's arrow fixed spitefully 
in the target. 

One of the heralds cried out that this archer had not yet 
given in his name, but even as he spoke, Robin's arrow flew 



hissing from his bow. A silence fell upon the onlookers, and 
even the smiling Prince leaned forward in his box. Then a 
great shout went up of amazement and incredulity. The 
markers and heralds thronged about the target and hid it 
from the general view until they were impatiently pulled away 
by some of the Prince's bodyguard. 

A marvel was seen then by all eyes Robin's arrow standing 
stiffly out from the center of the target, with Hubert's wand 
split down on either side of it flush to the very face of the mark ! 

Robin himself could scarcely credit his own success. He 
had done the thing before, with Warrenton, once out of a 
dozen times : and he had essayed it now more out of bravado 
than aught else. 

; 'Twas a feat worthy of Hubert himself," said the Sheriff, 
bombastically, to the Prince. He had not recognized Robin. 

"I have seen Hubert perform just such a trick on many 
occasions, sir," said Carfax. "This fellow has done no un 
common thing, believe me," he went on. "And after all, he 
has not bettered Hubert's shot." 

"That is true," said the Prince, as if thoughtfully. His 
face showed smiling again. "Let the contest go on: and 
Hubert shall shoot again with this young trickster." 

"The heralds say that he has not given in his name, sire," 
said one of the courtiers. 

"If that is so, his shooting is of no avail, be it never so 
good," cried Carfax, triumphantly. "Tell them that the 
archer is disqualified, my lord," he continued, addressing the 
Sheriff; "and bid them discover who he may be." 

Carfax turned again to the Prince, and began a whispered 


conversation with him. The Prince listened, nodding his 
head in approval. 

"Well, Monceux, what do they say?" he asked the Sheriff, 
languidly, as the other returned. 

"It seems, sire, that the archer is one who came in with a 
company of Lincoln bowmen. No one knows him hereabout. 
I have said that he is disqualified, and now the others will 
shoot again. But Hubert has now the purse, for sure." 

"In sooth I do think so," answered the Prince, laughing 
rather conceitedly. "But Monceux, bid this lad to me forth 
with. I would speak with him." 

The Sheriff went about the task; but Robin had disap 
peared; for suddenly, amidst the throng, his eyes had en 
countered those strange grey-blue ones of Mistress Fitz- 

She was sitting alone in a little box near by the targets. 
Robin had walked down the lists to see for himself that his 
shaft had split the Norman's fairly, and in turning away to 
find Stuteley he had become aware of her shrewd, piercing 
gaze. She allowed her eyes to rest fully on young Fitzooth's 
ardent glance for the briefest moment. Then she looked 
away unconcernedly. 

But Robin, venturing all, drew nigh. He came to the edge 
of her box, and began to speak. He had gone so far as " Give 
you good morrow, lady," when his eyes perceived the Sheriff's 
little golden arrow fastening her cloak. His mouth became 
dry at that and his words went back in his throat. 

The girl, aware of his confusion, brought her gaze back 
upon him. She smiled. 



But Robin, venturing all, drew nigh. He came to the 
edge of her box, and began to speak. 


"Is it indeed my young champion?" asked she, rather 
doubtfully at first, in her low, soft tones. "Is it you who have 
beaten the Prince's best archer, Robin o' th' Hood?" 

Her eyes were wells of innocent fun. The way in which 
she lingered over the last syllables brought Robin still deeper 
into the deep waters. 

"It is your servant, madame," was all that he could find 
to say. 

:< You see then that I wear your gift, Robin," she said, 
trying to make him at ease. "I have not forgotten " 

" Nor I I shall never forget," cried he, impulsively. " Your 
eyes are always in my memory: they are beautiful as stars," 
said he, fervently. 

"Oh, a gallant Locksley! But there, take my colors, since 
you will be my knight." She untied a ribbon from her hair, 
and gave it into his outstretched palm. "And now, farewell; 
take the Prince's prize, and spend the pennies worthily. Buy 
your sweetheart some ribbons, but keep that which I have 
given you." 

She tossed her curls again, as she added the last word. 
Robin was beginning a vehement protestation that he had no 
sweetheart, when Stuteley's voice broke in upon him. 

"Master, they have disqualified you, and given the prize 
to Hubert. 'Tis a vile injustice, and I have raised my voice 
furiously. So, alas! has Master Much the Miller; he is a very 
worthy gentleman." 

"What do you say?" asked Mistress Fitzwalter, in amaze 

"It is even so, lady, that my lord the Sheriff has ruled my 



master out of the court, for the reason that he did not give 
in his name before drawing his bow!" cried Stuteley. "A 
wicked conspiracy it is, and monstrous unjust! 'Tis thus that 
these prizes are given; the game's arranged beforehand. Ah, 
but I know how these Nottingham folk do plot: thrice now 
have I found them false and treacherous." 

When Stuteley had begun there were many who were ready 
to side with him, but his unlucky conclusion turned these pos 
sible friends into enemies. Even Mistress Fitzwalter drew 
back for an instant. 

" Be silent, Will," said Robin, vexed at once. " It is enough 
to be juggled out of this prize without your making it worse. 
I'll go claim it from Monceux and he shall argue it with me." 

"The Prince is asking for you, friend," said Carfax, sud 
denly appearing. He touched Robin on the shoulder. 

As he turned to depart, his gimlet eyes saw how the girl 
shrank away from them into her box. He looked swiftly at 
her; then at Robin again. "His Highness graciously con 
descended to enquire your name and rank," said he, pausing. 

"Will he give the purse to me, then?" asked Robin, sur 

" Nay, that has already been won by Master Hubert," an 
swered Carfax, as if amused at the question. 'You cannot 
win a prize every day, Master Locksley." 

He spoke at a shrewd guess, and saw that his shaft had hit 
the mark. Mistress Fitzwalter's interest in Robin had given 
him the clue. 

"I'll not go to the Prince," said Robin, wrathfully. "Tell 
him, Master Fetch-and-Take, that I have won this prize in all 



fairness; and I will shoot with Hubert again, if he needs an 
other beating." 

"You'll cool your heels in the stocks, Locksley," said Car 
fax, viciously : "so much is evident. The Sheriff has a quarrel 
with you already, and 'tis well that you are here to answer 
Master Ford's complaint. The Prince will send for you in 
style, since you will not go kindly to him. Bide but a few 
minutes. I'll not keep you waiting!" 

He strode off, in heat, followed by Stuteley's scornful 

Robin became aware that the people were eyeing them both 
with none too friendly glances. He felt that he and Will 
Stuteley were in a difficult position. Escape seemed to be 
out of the question. 

"Jump over the ledge of my box, Robin," whispered a 
sudden small voice, " and so make your way through the door 
at the back of it. Hasten!" 

Gratefully Robjn did as she bade him; and Stuteley ; with 
out waiting for invitation, followed. Mistress Fitz waiter 
instantly opened the door for them. "Hurry, I pray you," 
cried she; "I see them coming for you both. The Prince has 
sent his pikemen " 

Robin pushed Will out before him; and, turning, caught 
her little hand in his. 

"Thanks, thanks," he muttered, hurriedly, and strove to 
kiss her fingers. 

Laughing and blushing, she snatched them away. 

" Go," she cried, in agitated voice, " and stay not until you 



reach Locksley. We may meet again to talk of thanks," 
she added, seeing that he still hesitated. 

"Give me at least your name," panted poor Robin, at the 
door; "not that I shall ever forget you." 

"I am called Marian," answered she, closing the door 
ruthlessly upon him " Marian Fitzwalter. . . . Go now, 
I implore you, and may good fortune be with you always." 



SO, ingloriously, they returned through the night to 
Locksley. None offered to stay them in the forest of 
Sherwood; indeed, Robin might well have disbelieved 
in the existence of Will o' th' Green and his outlaw band, had 
he not had such good reason to know otherwise. It was as 
if Will had silently yielded him that freedom of the forest which 
he boasted was his to give. Tired and footsore, yet filled with 
a strange elation, Robin came back to Locksley before dawn, 
with faithful Stuteley forlornly following him. 

There were questions to be asked and answered when they 
arrived ; and Warren ton was very indignant when he heard of 
the Prince's gross favoritism of his archer Hubert. 

Robin seemed to show too little vexation in the matter, 
Warrenton thought. The man-at-arms was both perplexed 
and amazed by the semi-indifference displayed by the youth: 
here had he, by marvellous skill, won a fine prize, and had seen 
the same snatched most unfairly from him, and yet was not 
furiously enraged; but rather amused, as it were. 

"Surely, surely, you will go back with me to-morrow and 
demand the purse from the Sheriff?" said Warrenton, in argu 
mentative attitude. "Squire George o' th' Hall shall give us 
the best of Gamewell to enforce respect to you." 

"Nay, it matters not so much as that, Warrenton. The 
money I would like to have had, I'll not deny it; for it would 
have made me more independent of Master Monceux. But it 
has not fallen to me, and there it ends." 


"Well, 'tis well that you are so easy, lording," said Warren- 
ton, scratching his head. "Now tell us whom you saw; and 
how you contrived to split the Norman's arrow." 

He had already heard the story : but was very fain to listen 
to it again. "It is a trick that I taught him, dame," he added, 
off-handedly, to Mistress Fitzooth. "One that did surprise 
the Norman too, I'll warrant me. You see, they are so con 
cerned with their crossbows and other fal-lals in France that 
when good English yew " 

"I saw Master Will," said Robin, to check him. Once 
Warrenton was started on a dissertation on the virtues of the 
English longbow there was usually no staying him. "He told 
me that the Scarlet Knight had gone to France." 

Warrenton looked wise. "That is not worthy of belief, 
excellence," said he, cunningly. "Prince John is near; and 
one cannot imagine that Geoffrey of Montfichet " 

"Geoffrey of Montfichet?" asked the dame, wonderingly: 
and then Warrenton saw how he had blundered. "Why, I 
did not know that you had met your cousin, Robin. When 
was it, and why do you call him the Scarlet Knight?" 

"Geoffrey is outlawed, mother mine, and may not appear 
in Sherwood," answered Robin, temporizing with her. "And 
the story of our meeting is too long a one for the moment. We 
are rarely fatigued, and I would gladly get me to bed. Come, 
Will, rouse yourself. Mother, see that we do not sleep too 
long. I must go to Gamewell by the day after to-morrow at 
least; and there is much work between my going and now." 

He had determined to ask the Squire to move again in the 
matter of the Rangership for him whilst John was here. Even 



if the Prince had unduly favored Hubert in the archery con 
test, it did not necessarily follow that he would be unjust in 
such a plain business as this. Robin kissed the dame, strug 
gled with a yawn, and got him to rest. He slept uneasily, 
his dreams being strangely compounded of happiness and grief. 


Within three days Robin started away for Game well, tak 
ing only Stuteley, as before. He intended to make his return 
to Locksley ere dusk of the next night. 

When they were far advanced on their journey they heard 
sounds of a large company upon the road; and prudently 
Robin bade Stuteley hide with him in the undergrowth until 
they should see who these might be. 

"Maybe 'tis the Sheriff, with Master Ford, coming to 
seize our home. By watching them unseen we may find a way 
to bring their schemes to naught. Keep near to me, Will; 
and scarcely breathe." 

It was indeed a body of men from Nottingham; and, al 
though the Sheriff was not with them, Master Carfax and a 
few of the Lincoln bowmen were amongst the company. So 
also was Ford, the forester. 

In all, there were about two score of men, and most of 
them were Sherwood foresters. Robin espied Much the Miller 
in the tail of the procession, looking very dejected and ill, and 
decided to risk exposing himself. Standing up in the bracken, 
he called out boldly: "Hold there, Master Much. Here am 
I, ready to take your money." 

"What sprite are you?" answered Much, reining in his 
steed sharply. "Why! 'tis the gipsy lad, as I live; with his 



face nicely washed . . . !" He had recognized Robin by 
his clothes. "Money, forsooth! Do you know that I have 
not so much as a groat in my pouch?" 

"Then must one of the others lend it to you," replied 
Robin. "Pay me, friends, forthwith. A short reckoning is 
an easy reckoning. My arrow flew nearer the target than 
did any of yours." 

"How do you know that?" said Much. "After you had 
gone we all did aim again, an.d very marvellous was my shoot 
ing. For sure, I should have had the prize, even as I told 
you, had not Hubert already made off with it." 

"Is this so?" asked Robin, doubtfully, looking from one 
to the other of the Lincoln men. Those in front had now 
stopped also; and Master Carfax came ambling back to see 
what had occasioned the delay. So soon as he espied Robin 
his face took a joyful look. "Here, Master Ford," he called, 
clapping his hands. "Hither come hither! Here is your 
quarry found for you. Now you can. fight it out, fair and 
square, whilst we watch to see fair play !" 

Ford turned about and glanced at Robin; but he did not 
like the notion of such a battle. So he affected not to recog 
nize him. "Nay, this is but some vagrant fellow," said he, 
hesitatingly. "Let us push on, Master Simeon; 'tis near the 
hour when we are to meet with him whom you know." He 
added these words in a low voice, and made a gesture indicat 
ing the Copmanhurst road. 

Carfax's face took a diabolical expression. He had begun 
to answer Ford, when the whole party were suddenly disturbed 
by the rush of a great herd of Royal deer. 



These beasts, driven by someone from out of their pastures, 
came scattering blindly adown the track; and men and horses 
moved quickly to one side to avoid a devastating collision. 

After they had passed, Carfax began again. "Form a 
ring, friends," cried he, coaxingly. "Let neither of these 
fellows escape. They shall yield us some sport, in any event, 
whether Ford be right or I." 

A solitary stag at this instant appeared before them. He 
stood, as if carved from stone, in the center of the road, at 
three hundred paces' distance. He was clearly uncertain 
whether to dash through these his usual enemies, in an at 
tempt to rejoin the herd, or fly backward to that unknown 
danger which had first startled them all. 

" 'Tis a fine beast," hiccoughed Much. "Now had I a 
steady hand!" 

Simeon Carfax interrupted him. "By the Lord Harry, 
here is the very thing," he said, in whispered excitement. 
"Now, fellow, you shall prove me right and this forester 
wrong. I say you are Robin of Locksley, who did split the 
Norman's arrow at the tourney. Fly a shaft now at yon 
mark; surely none but such a bowman as yourself might dare 
hope to reach it." 

Robin fell into the very palpable trap set for him. With 
out answering Carfax, he fitted an arrow to his bow, and sent 
speeding death to the trembling stag. It fell, pierced cleanly 
to the heart. Robin eyed Ford triumphantly. 

But Master Carfax now held up his hands in horror. " See 
what you have done, wicked youth," ejaculated he, as if quite 
overcome with dismay. "I bade you shoot at yon birch-tree 



shimmering there to the left of the deer. Did I not say : ' Fly 
at yon mark'? And now you have killed one of the King's 

"I do hear that this fellow has slain others about Locks- 
ley," said Ford, meanly. "You are right, Master Simeon; 
he is, in sooth, Robin of Locksley; your eyes are wiser than 
mine. Seize him, my men." 

At once the foresters sprang upon Robin and Stuteley, 
and a fierce battle was commenced. Despite a valiant resist 
ance, Robin and Will Stuteley were soon overcome and bound 
hard and fast. 

* You villains," panted Stuteley. "And you, most treach 
erous," he called to Carfax, "I wish you joy of so contemp 
tible a trick." 

"All's fair in war, -friend," answered Carfax. "Now, 
Master Ford, fulfil your duty. You know the law; that if 
one be found killing the King's deer in the Royal Forest of 
Sherwood, he or she may be summarily hanged when caught 
upon the nearest tree." 

"It must be inflagrante delicto, Master Simeon," said Ford, 
uneasy again. 

"Could there be a plainer case?" cried Carfax, rubbing 
his hands. "We all did see this fellow shoot the deer. 'Tis 
the clearest case; and I do counsel you to deal lawfully in it, 
Master Ford. Remember that he also is suspected of being 
an outlaw, in that you saw him once use a peacocked arrow. 
Although I am but a layman, as it were, friend," he added, 
meaningly, "yet I do know the law, and shall be forced to 
quit my conscience with the Prince when I return to Notting- 



ham. Wherefore, seeing that your appointment to Locksley 
still lacks his confirmation ' 

"I would rather bring the rogue to Master Monceux, as 
he did command me," argued Ford, who could not quite brace 
himself to this. "Besides, we have no leisure at this moment 
to carry out the law," he went on. : 'You know that your 
master the Prince did start us on this journey with two errands 
upon our shoulders." 

"One was to deal with Robin of Locksley," said Carfax, 
snarlingly, and without yielding his point. 

"To take him to Nottingham, master, I say," put in Much. 
"I do not think that the Prince meant you to harm him." 

"Be silent, knave!" snapped the lean-faced man, sharply. 
"Who gave you the right to question me? Shut your mouth, 
or I will have you accounted as accomplice with these fellows, 
and put a noose about your bull-neck also!" 

"Why, harkee, master," said Much, very wrathful. "This 
is a game where two can play or more. I do forthwith range 
myself with the gipsy; and you, Midge," he added, turning 
to one of his company, "surely you will follow?" 

"Right instantly," answered the one called Midge, a little 
ferret of a man. 

"And I also." "And I, Master Much" so spoke the 
remaining Lincoln men. 

"So are we six, then," said Much. He tumbled off his 
horse, and the other three of them did the like; and then 
strode over to where Robin stood. "Release him," said the 
miller, determinedly; and he promptly knocked two of the 
foresters sprawling. 



This was the signal for a general encounter, and all threw 
themselves very heartily into the melee. 

The miller and his men struggled to release Robin and 
Stuteley so that these might help in the fray; but the foresters 
were too many for them. Twice did Much get his hands 
upon Robin's bonds, only to be plucked violently backward. 
The men tumbled one upon the other in the fight, pummelling, 
clutching, and tearing at each other in a wild confusion. They 
made little noise, all being too desperately in earnest. Ford 
encouraged his foresters by word and gesture; and Carfax 
kept himself as far out of it as possible. Presently three of 
the foresters overpowered the good-natured, still half-tipsy 
miller, and held him down. 

Then Master Carfax sprang from his horse and rushed in 
upon the prostrate miller. Seizing one of the foresters' pikes 
the lean-faced man foully swung it down ufcon Much's pate 
with a sounding thwack. The miller gave a groan and be 
came limp in the hands of his assailants. 

"Now, surely, that is the meanest of all the mean deeds 
which you have done!" cried Robin. He tore at his bonds 
fiercely and vainly biting at the cord about his wrists with 
his teeth. Carfax ran to his horse. In an instant he had re 
turned with a cord taken from under his saddle. "I had a 
notion that this might be useful to me when I set out this 
morn," he said. "Put it about his neck soon as a noose is 
fashioned. Now fling the end of it over this branch. Now 
draw it tight. Steadily, I pray you; be not over-quick. The 
prisoner has the right to speak a prayer ere he be hanged. Say 
it then, Robin of Locksley." 



Robin caught sight at this instant of poor Stuteley's face. 
He had been knocked down in the fight, and, being bound, 
had lain where he had fallen. His eyes met Robin's in an 
anguished glance, and his lips trembled in attempt at speech. 

Robin strove to smile at him; but his own soul was sick 
within his body. He felt the cord tighten again about his 
throat, but even as the world reeled black, Robin heard dully 
the sound of a horn. In familiar tones it came in upon his 
fainting brain. Next instant came a jerk at the rope, futile, 
if infuriated; then, suddenly, contact with a body falling 
heavily against his own. 

As he fell he knew that something warm and horrid trickled 
upon his hands. Then followed a vast confusion of noise: 
and, in the midst of it, sweet peace. 



"IT TT "THEN Robin came to his senses he found himself 

%/ %/ surrounded by the outlaw band. On this occasion 

they appeared as friends, however and welcome 

ones to boot; for it had been a near matter that Robin's 

history had been ended by Master Carfax on this day. 

Now were the tables turned, and very completely. The 
foresters had been overcome by Will and his outlaws, thanks 
to the diversion brought about by the Lincoln men. Much 
was sitting up with a more rueful countenance than he had 
when Robin had first spied him on this morning; and little 
sharp-nosed Midge was busy bathing and binding his cracked 

Some half -score of the foresters, with Master Ford, had 
escaped along the road towards Locksley : the rest were bound, 
and their horses confiscated by the outlaws. 

Master Simeon, with rage and terror depicted plainly 
upon his countenance, lay writhing at Robin's feet, bound 
with the very cord with which he had sought to end young 
Fitzooth's life. His enemies had trussed him across a quarter- 
staff, and had tied the knots large and tight about him. 

"Well, Locksley, how now?" asked Will o' th' Green, with 
gruff kindliness. "Are the vapors passed? Can you twiddle 
your bow again?" 

"Not skilfully enough now to take place against you, 



Will," smiled Robin, recovering himself more and more. "I 
am atrembling yet. I had thought to see the blue sky no 
more " 

"Ay, my man's arrow was not too soon, Locksley," said 
Will, gravely. "This fellow's hand was upon the rope, and 
another moment might have seen you gallows-fruit upon this 
tree." He paused to bend over a forester lying prone near 
them, with his face buried in the grass. Robin saw that the 
man's body was transfixed by an arrow. 

"He is no more," Will told them, looking up presently; 
"your aim was a shrewd one, Hal," he went on, addressing 
himself to one of his band. 

"Is he indeed dead?" asked Robin, in an awestruck voice. 
; 'Twas his life or yours," answered Will o' th' Green, 
grimly. He turned to his men. "Now, comrades," cried 
he, "have you searched our prisoners and prepared them? 
'Tis well. Are they bound together, then, by the arms, twos 
and threes, as is appointed in our rules; and is the right leg 
and left leg of each villain shackled together? . . . Stand 
them up, then, with their faces toward Nottingham, and bid 
them march." 

"There is yet this one, captain," said one of the men, in 
dicating Carfax. "What shall we do with him?" 

"Has he been searched closely?" enquired Will. Without 
waiting a reply, he roughly ran his fingers through Master 
Carfax's pockets, and unfastened his tunic at the bosom. A 
parchment dropped out and Will snapped it up. 

"I come from the Prince," whined Carfax, speaking at 
last; "and if so be you are Master Will Cloudesley, or Will o' 



th' Green as these folks do call you why, I have a very 
gracious message for you." 

The outlaw gave a signal to his men. "Set him upon his 
feet," he ordered, "and loosen these cords. Now, excellence, 
speak at your ease." 

"Believe him not, Master Will," interposed Stuteley, 
afraid that Carfax was going to turn the tables on them in 
some treacherous way. "He is a very proper rogue." 

"Be easy, friend," said Will o' th' Green. "Every one is 
judged here in fairness. These men," pointing to the shame 
faced, miserable foresters, "were caught in the doing of an 
evil deed, and so were dealt with summarily. But this one 
did not seem to have a hand in it." 

"It was he who commanded them, sir," suddenly shrilled 
the little Lincoln named Midge. "He is, in sooth, a diabolical 
villain, and did very foully strike our companion here whilst 
men were holding him." 

"All testify against you, excellence," said the outlaw, 
speaking again to Carfax. "What is your story of it? Speak 
without fear." 

"This rascal did imprudently waylay us on the road with 
a demand for money," began Carfax, "and I, riding back at 
his noise, did recognize him for one Robin Locksley, a notorious 
felloW who has defied my lord the Sheriff's authority; and has 
also been suspect of being of your company which is a thing, 
saving your presence, Master Cloudesley, that has been poor 
recommendation in the past. Further, with our own eyes 
have we seen him shoot and kill one of his Majesty's stags, 
a most valued beast with sixteen pointed antlers, as you can 



see. We were but exercising the law upon him, as is appointed. 
. . . That is to say, Master Ford was directing his men to 
carry out the law," said Carfax, with his thin cheeks pale with 
fear. "I did but counsel prudence, and plead for the youth." 

"Enough," cried Will, with contempt in his tones. "Now 
tell me the message which the Prince has sent by so worthy 
a messenger." 

"That is for your private ear," said Simeon, cunningly. 

"You may speak plainly before my comrades," said Will. 
"Doubtless they are as interested in the Royal words as I 

"I was to bid you come at once to the City gate, so many 
of you as would," Carfax said, "there to receive the King's 
pardon from the hands of our beloved Prince. Indeed, his 
gracious Highness did well expect to see you before him three 
days agone, at the tourney." 

"Dressed about with red ribbons, I trow?" enquired the 
outlaw, as if helping him. 

"Indeed yes, Master Cloudesley. You have said it, in 
deed. Knowledge of your loyalty to us was brought to the 
Prince by me. By me, good friend," he repeated, insinuat 
ingly. "And now give back to me my parchment which, 
being writ in the Latin tongue, is truly no more than a cartel 
to my lord the Abbot of York and let us set forth joyfully. 
For henceforth ye will be as free men, and what is past will be 

"I can read you the scroll, Will," said Robin, quietly. "I 
have some knowledge of the priestly tongue." 

The outlaw handed him the scroll, and all waited in silence 



whilst Robin deciphered it. Carfax snapped his teeth to 
gether in vexation at this unexpected turn. "He cannot read 
the parchment. Is it likely?" he cried. "He will but pretend 
to read it, and make lies with which to confound me. 'Tis 
writ in most scholarly Latin, that only few may learn." 

"There is treachery here for you, Will," spoke Robin, with 
out heeding these outcries. "This is a notification from the 
Prince to the Abbot of York saying that his emissaries have 
sounded you and that you are ready with your men to strike 
for him." 

"I have said so much," commented Will, "naming three 

"They are written herein: first, that a general amnesty 
is to be granted; second, that the ban of excommunication is 
to be removed from off you by the Holy Church; and third, 
that the Prince shall find your men, afterward, honorable em 

"That is so, Locksley. The letter is exact." 

"So the Prince writes to the Abbot, asking him to promise 
the second of your conditions, saying that it need be only a 
promise, for he has not the least intention of holding to a bar 
gain with one so evil as yourself, and that after he has won the 
throne from Henry his father, matters such as these will be 
disposed of by his soldiery, if need be." 

" It is not true," screamed Carfax. " He lies to you, Master 
Cloudesley, seeking to be revenged on me." 

"Any clerk can read these lines to you, Will," answered 
Robin. "The Prince continues praying for the welfare of 
them all at York, and saying that he has already promised in 


the Abbot's name that the loan shall be taken off; that the 
Abbot is to receive and watch narrowly one Geoffrey of Mont- 
fichet, who has been exiled for treason, but who now impru 
dently has returned to work on their behalf in England." 

"Now do I know that you are reading truly," cried Will, 
and his brow grew black. "For how could you know that 
your cousin was concerned in this? You false-hearted knave," 
he added, turning to Carfax, "false as your false master 
your doom is sealed. Tie him up by his heels, and let him hang 
head downward from this tree whereon he would have hung 
gallant Locksley. Be speedy, men." 

At this Simeon Carfax became as one quite demented, and 
Robin interposed. 

"Let us not punish the man for his master's fault, Will," 
cried he. "Deal with him only on the score of my quarrel 
with him, when I shall say let him go. For I should always 
feel shame were we to be as harsh with an enemy as he would 
be with us. It would show us no better then he." 

"Take him then, since Locksley will have it so, and tie 
his legs under the belly of his horse first setting him face to 
tail upon it," said Will. "And you, Hal, go and cut me the 
antlers from off yon poor beast." 

When this was done he caused his men to attach the horns 
by means of a cord to Master Carfax's head; then, with his 
own hand, Will gave the horse a lead towards Nottingham. 

Then, with a "view halloo," the steed bearing the unfor 
tunate man was started in real earnest; and the foresters sent 
staggering by after it along the road to Nottingham. 

W T hen they were out of sight, Robin thanked the outlaw 



again for all that he had done for them. Will merely shrugged 
his shoulders, as one who would say: <; 'Tis a matter not worth 
breath"; and, giving his men a signal, prepared to return to 
his own fastnesses. Robin begged them to take the body of 
the deer, and, with small reluctance, the outlaws accepted the 

The Lincoln men bade Robin farewell also, saying that they 
would now go on towards their own homes with a light heart: 
for, having met the outlaws and found them most agreeable 
company, they had no more fear of Sherwood. 

So Robin and little Stuteley, waving farewell to all these 
strange friends, moved on towards Game well, although Robin 
really had little hope now of coming by the Prince's grace into 
what seemed to be but his rights. The Sheriff and Simeon 
Carfax would attend to that, no doubt. 

A curious dejection settled upon Robin. He had nothing 
but gloomy thoughts upon him as he trudged towards the 
Squire's domain. Nor did his spirits rise at his reception by 
old Gamewell. The Squire appeared almost uneasy with 
him; and was short in his speech, although once or twice a 
kindlier light flashed in his bright eyes. 

"Already he regrets that he should have pressed me to take 
up the Montfichet name," thought Robin to himself, imagining 
that herein was the cause of the Squire's distemper. 

He began to tell Montfichet of their doings and adventures : 
but had no sooner come to that part of the narrative referring 
to the Prince's purse than the Squire broke out: "Talk not to 
me of that man," cried he, vehemently. "He is an unworthy 
son of a much-tried father. Forsooth, this has become an age 



of disobedience and unfilial behavior; one has but to look 
round to find most sons alike. The Fifth Commandment is 
now without meaning to the younger generation." 

"I have no father, sir," said poor Robin, half in defense; 
for Gamewell looked so fiercely at him. "Nor do I seek to 
keep you to your offer," added he, in his thoughts. 

"I was not thinking so much of you, boy," replied the 
Squire; and again a better expression shone briefly in his face. 
" Give you good night, Robin Locksley you know your cham 
ber. Sleep well and we will talk together in the morning." 

The morning saw no easement of the Squire's attitude to 
wards Robin; and as soon as breakfast was ended he deter 
mined to go without wasting breath upon the errand which 
had brought him. 

"For sure, he is repenting of his offer," reasoned Robin. 
"Perchance already his heart is moved again towards Geof 
frey, and who shall be more glad than I to find this so? I'll 
let the Squire think it comes from me as in truth it does 
this whimsey to prefer the name of Fitzooth to Montfichet!" 

So bravely, as he was about to leave him, Robin spoke to 
the old man. 

"Sir," he said, "I have it in me to speak plain words with 
you, an I may." 

"Have no fear, boy. I am one who loves an open mind." 
Montfichet spoke with meaning. 

"Well, sir, I would say with reference to that which you 
once did press upon my mother and myself that I should 



take your name and half-fortune with my cousin Geoffrey 
that I have thought well upon your kind offer." 

"There was to be a year go by, Master Fitzooth, ere you 
should give answer." 

"In a year or now, sir," said Robin, firmly, "I cannot see 
that I should accept. I have no quarrel with my cousin, and 
I will not come between him and your heart which pleads 
against yourself on his behalf." 

Montfichet broke forth then, and Robin learned suddenly 
what had come between him and this strange, capricious man. 

"No quarrel with Geoffrey, say you?" he shouted, bringing 
his fist down with violence upon the oak table. "No, I trow 
you have not, Robin Fitzooth! But I have a quarrel both 
with him and you. Know that I have heard the story of your 
escapade with that mean son of mine, who must come prowling 
like a thief in the night about the walls of Gamewell. I know 
the Scarlet Knight's secret, and yours who did think it brave 
to deceive and outwit an old man." 

"Sir, sir!" began Robin, aghast at this storm. 

"Nay, I will hear no more of it. Treachery and deceit 
always they hang about my house. You deceived me, Robin 
Fitzooth, and cozened my servant Warrenton. So I cast you 
out of my heart for ever. For the rest of my days I will be 
sufficient unto myself: after I am gone, the dogs may quarrel 
above my grave for the bones of Gamewell." 

He almost pushed Robin from him, and turned brusquely 
away. Dazed and confounded, Robin faltered rather than 
walked to reach Stuteley, who stood awaiting him in the court 
yard. Without a word, Robin took his hand. "Come, Will; 



let us go," he muttered, thickly: and with wrathful heart 
Robin Fitzooth shook the dust of Gamewell from off his feet. 

Faintly through his mind came memory of the clerk's 
warning: but it was all of it so unjust ! He had never intended 
to deceive the Squire : all that he had done had been done with 
out thought. After all, what fault had he committed against 

' 'Fore Heaven," said Robin, furiously, "I never will 
speak with that man again nor cross the threshold of his 

So the clouds gathered more and more thickly over the 
head of Robin Fitzooth. 



THE Demoiselle Marie was behind all this. She had 
known Geoffrey's plans from her lover, Master Carfax; 
for Master Carfax had had interviews with those two 
of Will's band, Roger and Micah, the traitors sworn against 

'Twas all wheel within wheel and plot within plot. Car 
fax had by nature a face made to show differently on either 
side of it. Thus he was in service with the Prince; and, whilst 
knowing the younger Montfichet to be his master's ally, 
affected outwardly to recognize him as one against whom the 
hands of all righteous men should be raised. 

Master Simeon had gone forth with the Prince's message 
to Will o' th' Green, and with John Ford, in order that he 
might install that latter worthy at Locksley. Afterward 
Simeon was to journey to the Priory of York, as we know. 
Marie Monceux, to complete Robin's undoing, bade her father 
go to Gamewell and there tell Montfichet how Robin had 
helped Geoffrey to his scarlet-ribboned horse, giving the Squire 
the story as it had come through the two false outlaws. Cer 
tain proof she sent in a strip of the red cloth which Montfichet 
well knew to belong only to his house at Gamewell. 

So suddenly Montfichet's mind was poisoned against 
Robin; with the result that we have seen. The Squire began 
now to believe Ford's tale that young Fitzooth was of the out 
law band, and at once withdrew all support of Robin so far 



as the Rangership of Locksley was concerned. "No doubt," 
thought the Squire, bitterly, "he is son of his father in dis 
content and false pride. Fitzooth never was frank with me, 
and has trained his son to distrust and deceive all men." 

Truly the Sheriff's daughter was exacting full penalty for 
Robin's disregard of her at the Nottingham Fair. 

She had employed her hand also against the maid Fitz- 
walter, as we shall find later. 

Robin, in forbidding silence, strode along the road until 
they neared the shrine of St. Dunstan, when he looked eagerly 
toward the stout little hut of the clerk, hoping to find his old 
friend standing at the door of it, with his barking dogs. 

All was silent, however, and deserted. To Robin's sur 
prise, the gate of the palisade stood wide open; and the door 
of the hut also. He glanced at Will. 

"Surely the priest is abroad imprudently, master?" said 
young Stuteley. "See how he has left his little house open 
to the world! He must be of a very trusting nature for sure." 

"I remember now that the gate was unlatched yesterday," 
spoke Robin, slowly. "I noticed it then and meant to talk 
with you on the point, Will. I hope that no evil has befallen 
the clerk." 

: 'Tis three weeks or more since we have had tidings of 
him," said Stuteley. "Shall we go in and make search?" 

They entered the rude dwelling and soon exhausted every 
hole and corner of it in a vain hunt for some token of the clerk. 
The kennels at the back were empty and forlorn; and some 
bread which they found in the hermit's tiny larder was mouldy 
and very stale. 



"Let us push on to Locksley, Will; mayhap we shall have 
better cheer waiting us there!" 

They trudged on quietly. His master's depression had 
reached and overcome merry Stuteley. They began uncon 
sciously to walk quickly and more quickly still as they 
approached Locksley. The day was overcast and very 

Presently Robin, throwing back his head, sniffed the air. 

"Surely there is a strange smell in these woods, Will? 
Does it not seem to you that there is a taste of burning grasses 
in the breeze?" 

"Master," answered Stuteley, his face suddenly paling 
at some inner fear, "I do smell fire such as a blazing house 
would give forth. Well do I know the scent of it; having 
seen our own home burned last year." 

"Hurry, hurry, Will; my heart misgives me. Some 
further disaster is upon us. This is my evil day, I know. 
Hurry, for the love of me!" 

They set off at a frenzied scamper through the woods, tak 
ing the short footpath which would lead them to the back of 
the house of Locksley. Robin broke through the trees and 
undergrowth and hastily scaled the fence that railed off their 
garden from the wild woods. 

A dread sight met his starting eyes. Dull brown smoke 
curled from under the eaves of his home in dense clouds; the 
windows were gaping rounds from which ever and anon red 
flames gushed forth; a torrid heat was added to the sickening 
odor of the doomed homestead. 

Somebody grasped him by the hand. 



"Thanks be that you are returned, excellence," spoke a 
rough voice, with emotion. "This is a sorry welcome." 

"My mother?" gasped Robin, blankly, and his heart stood 
still for Warrenton's answer. 

"Not a hair of her head has been touched. Old Warren- 
ton would not stand here to tell you the sorry tale were it 
otherwise. But the house must go; 'tis too old and dry a 
place for mortal hand to save." 

Stuteley had joined them by this, and the three gazed for 
a minute in stupefied silence on the flaming destruction of that 
home so dear to Robin Fitzooth. Warrenton, grimed and 
righteously angry, began his tale. 

Yesterday, at dusk, the sound of a winding horn had 
brought them all anxiously to the garden. "We thought 
that you had returned with young Stuteley," said the old 
man-at-arms; "but we found ourselves facing none other than 
Master Ford the forester, with about six or more of the most 
insolent of his men. Peremptorily be bade us deliver up this 
house to him, pulling out a warrant from his bosom and waving 
it before your mother's face." 

"Ford, was it?" questioned Robin. Then light broke in 
upon him. Yesterday, after the battle between Will's band 
and that of Master Carfax, some of the defeated foresters had 
fled to the north of Sherwood. 

"You must bear up, young master," said Warrenton; "the 
Squire will doubtless build you a new home." 

"Alas, Warrenton! Master Montfichet has turned against 
me now," said Robin then, "and against you also. Continue 
your story, and you shall hear ours when you have done." 



So Warrenton continued, telling them how John Ford had 
made an attempt to seize the place: how Warrenton and the 
few servants had striven to beat him back: and how, after 
valiant fighting, they had succeeded in keeping them from 
taking the house at least. The garden they could not retain; 
but Warrenton, having established himself at one of the upper 
windows, had so shrewdly flown his arrows, that Ford himself 
had been wounded and one of his men killed outright. 

Night had fallen upon them in this way, and the dame 
thought that it Would be a good scheme for one of her maids 
to now endeavor to slip out and arouse the village to their 
help. One of the women therefore essayed the journey; but 
was so clumsy as to attract the enemy's attention. She was 
seized and made to confess how the house was protected and 
where it was most likely to fall before a sharp assault. Being 
a witless wench, she told them truly, and Master Ford then 
bade her help them collect sticks and leaves in order that they 
might be able to fire the place as a last resource. 

Those within had thought that the girl had managed to 
evade danger, and cheerfully waited for help from the village. 

A determined attack was commenced at daybreak; and 
Ford and his men succeeded in gaining possession of the 
kitchens without loss. Another of the servants was captured, 
also a second maid-servant was injured by an arrow, so seri 
ously as to die within twenty minutes. 

Warrenton kept the stairs and barricaded the inner door 
from the kitchens by putting tables and chairs against it. At 
length a parley was called, and Ford shouted his conditions 
through the keyhole. The besieged then learned that the 



distant village was still unaware of their peril. Ford offered 
to let them all go forth free, if now they would yield up the 
house to him. 

Mistress Fitzooth had a mind to accept, but Warrenton 
counselled no. After a long argument Ford swore that he 
would burn the house over their heads if they did not surrender 
it within an hour; and, going back to the garden, he began to 
bring in the loose dry pieces of wood and sticks he and his men 
had collected in the night. 

At three hours after noon, Ford, having given one more 
warning to them, had bidden his fellows do the worst. In a 
few moments the smell of burning filled the house; and Mis 
tress Fitzooth became as one distraught. 

"We had two women left to us," Warrenton continued, 
"and a lad, who was worth as much as a man to me. I bade 
them open the door softly, and rush forth whilst the wretches 
were employed at their fiendish work in the rear. This we 
did, and so gained, unperceived, the little shed near by the 
gate. From a crack in the boards, I could command bowshot 
of the whole front; and I had given the lad a bow of yours. 
The two maids, taking your mother's hands, pulled her along 
under the hedge until they gained the road. Then all three 
ran furiously toward the village. 

"We who were left behind had not long to wait. Pres 
ently, one came round to the front with a piece of flaming wood 
and boldly thrust it through the nearest lattice. Him I killed 
at once with an arrow through the back. They were now but 
five against us. Presently two others came stealthily from the 
back: but, seeing their companion dead, ran back hastily. 



"Master Ford appeared next, and began to look suspici 
ously about him. His fellow had rolled over in his death- 
struggles, and so might have been slain from my window in 
the house-front. Curls of smoke were coming up from under 
the thatch by now; and Ford, making up his mind, ran out 
with the others, and flung himself upon the door. 

"We had left it latched; and so it gave enough of resis 
tance in his blind attack to justify him in believing it was still 
held from within. It fell inwards, at last, with a crash; and 
Ford sprang triumphantly across the threshold. His fellows 
rushed after him, trying now to beat out the fire." 

Warrenton paused, and all fell again to watching the leap 
ing flames. 

" Meanwhile I guessed that your mother was safe, and had 
already alarmed the villagers," continued the old retainer. 
"So, with a shout, I rushed out upon the villains, with the lad, 
and pulled the broken door back to its place, shutting them 
in, that they might enjoy their own fell work in all security. 
Two of them did attempt escape just since by leaping from 
out of the window. But my bow was ready strung for 

"Have you killed four men, then, Warrenton?" said Robin, 
his blood running cold. Then suddenly the full meaning of it 
flashed upon him. "And Ford?" he cried, with a gesture of 
horror, "and the two others?" 

"Nay," said Warrenton, grimly. "I had come round here 
to see whether they had preference for fire or for my arrows, 
having left the boy to guard the front. Then I saw you and 
young Stuteley, and in my chattering I had nigh come to for- 



get them. But there is Master Ford beckoning to us from your 
own room." 

A frenzied, dreadful figure had indeed appeared for a brief 
instant amongst the thick curling smoke. It waved two hope 
less hands out towards the falling dusk, and then incontinently 

A thin scream sounded in Robin's ears, as a rush of flame 
mercifully swallowed up this apparition: like as not, 'twas the 
sound of the fire itself. The end had come, both to the un 
happy foresters and Robin's home. With a huge torrent of 
noise the roof of it crushed in, half stifling the fire. 

Then the flames seized full mastery ; and amid a shower of 
sparks, the red tongues licked and devoured the last of their 

Robin hastened to find his mother, that he might be re 
lieved of his anxiety and be rid for the moment of the sight of 
the awful catastrophe of the fire. Warrenton and Stuteley 
rushed in together, at his command, to try to save the two re 
maining foresters; but it was a very forlorn hope. Warren- 
ton in his just revenge had pushed things to their extreme 
limits: Master Ford and all his band had paid the utmost 
penalty of their failure to overcome this relentless old man. 

Mistress Fitzooth had secured refuge and was now much 
calmer. She embraced her son and wept over him in joy at 
this reunion. Robin could see, however, that she was indeed 
much overwrought by these troubles. She had not yet re 
covered from the loss of her husband. 

They stayed with these poor people, who found room for 



them somehow, out of sheer charity, for neither Robin nor the 
dame had any money. It was a bitter business, in sooth: 
and next day Robin, finding his mother far from well, humbled 
himself to beg assistance from the Squire. He despatched the 
letter by Warren ton, and then patiently set himself to wait a 

Also, he determined to seek an audience with the Prince. 
His home had been burned, his small patrimony gone: he 
had now no means of keeping himself and the dame from star 
vation save by living on another man's bread. 

The clerk, his one tried friend, was gone no one knew 

The Prince would surely yield him the right to be Ranger 
at Locksley in his father's place! The house had been given 
to dead Hugh Fitzooth by Henry, the King. 

An uneasy feeling took possession of Robin, for Warrenton 
had defied and overcome the Sheriff's man when he had been 
properly empowered to expel mother and son from Locksley, 
and there were seven dead men, nay eight, to be accounted for 
and they were all of them King's Foresters. 

Montfichet answered him by sending a purse of money 
and a curt letter saying that Mistress Fitzooth was to come to 
Gamewell, where for the rest of her days she would always 
find a home. For Robin he could do nothing: already the 
Sheriff had drawn up a proclamation of outlawry against him, 
setting the price of a hundred crowns upon him, living or dead. 



MISTRESS FITZOOTH never saw Gamewell or her 
brother again. Her disorder took a sudden and fatal 
turn; and within a week Robin found himself doubly 
an orphan without home, money, or hope. Only two good 
friends had he little Stuteley and staunch Warrenton. 

The Squire had refused to see the latter and had sent him 
the reply to Robin's note by one of the servants. Montfichet 
was angered with Warrenton because he had been deceived 
by him. 

Robin laid his mother to rest beside his father. That was 
as long as he might dare stay in Locksley. Every day he 
feared to be seized by Master Monceux's myrmidons. Stute 
ley kept watch on the road through Sherwood by day and War 
renton by night. 

The morning of the interment brought news of danger. 
One of the few faithful foresters of Locksley was at his post 
the rest, having no master, had disported themselves upon 
their own various errands and he heard from a shepherd 
that a body of soldiers were journeying to Locksley. Full 
two score and ten of them there were; one, the leader, carrying 
a warrant for Robin's arrest. The forester hastened to save 
his young master. 

The time was short. Robin had scarcely pause to perform 
the last sad offices above his mother's grave ere he must be 



flying for his life. His only chance was to take to the woods 
and hide in them. 

Warrenton urged him to seek shelter in the thicker forest 
about Barnesdale, at the north-western end of Sherwood. 
Whispers gave a story that the higher parts were honey 
combed with strange caves; and all the countryside knew 
that away in Barnesdale were the headquarters and camps of 
Will o' th' Green. It was the place of all others for shelter; 
and Stuteley became joyful in the thought of the adventures 
that must chance to them therein. 

Warrenton was sober, however, over it. He had a pre 
sentiment that the days would be hard and the food scanty and 
plain. Still 'twas a man's life, after all. 

They nearly plunged themselves into the hands of the 
enemy by mistaking their road. 

So it chanced that Robin spied his old enemy Simeon Car 
fax and narrowly missed being seen also by him. The three 
fugitives hid themselves high up in the branches of a tree; 
and watched with beating hearts their enemies hurrying on 
ward to Locksley. With the band of soldiers, pikemen, and 
foresters were two whom Robin observed narrowly. Sounds 
of their talk reached his ears; and, since these two fellows rode 
somewhat apart from the rest, Robin was able to distinguish 
their chattering. 

He had unfailing ear for a voice. These were those traitors 
in Will's band, the two outlaws whom he had encountered on 
the day of the joustings at Nottingham Fair. "Roger and 
Micah," murmured Robin to himself, after listening a while. 
:< Yes, those were the names they used then. So, friends, I 



am forearmed against you, for I will step with heavy foot in 
your concerns by-and-by when I do find Master Will o* th' 
Green! Roger and Micah I'll not forget." 

Soon as they had passed, the three slid quietly to the ground 
and thereafter betook themselves very cautiously through the 
wood. Robin determined to find Will soon as he might and 
lay his case before him. The outlaw would give him refuge, 
no doubt. 

The noise of the soldiers passed away in a murmuring dis 
cordance, and the three fugitives walked now more boldly to 
wards Barnesdale. Ere sundown they were very heartily 
tired. They lay themselves down in the long grasses and while 
two slumbered the third watched. 

Such foods as dry bread and berries were all that they 
could command; but there was water in plenty. The even 
ing came, and after it night and so to break of the next 

Robin would have recommenced the flight soon as they 
had bathed themselves in a little shallow stream. Ere an 
hour of daylight was theirs, sounds of hurried approach warned 
them to be alert. Someone was crashing recklessly through 
the wood, following their trail clearly. Robin bade Warren- 
ton and little Stuteley hide on either hand whilst he put him 
self directly in the path of this pursuer. 

It proved to be none other than that one faithful forester 
of Locksley who had warned him of the soldiery. Robin wel 
comed him all the more gladly when he heard that this good 
fellow meant to throw in his own fortunes with those of his 
unjustly treated young master. 



He had news for them, too. It transpired that Master 
Carfax had several duties in hand as was his wont. First, 
he had to seize Robin and bring him, alive or dead, to the 
Sheriff. Next he was to declare all the Fitzooth property to 
be confiscated; and, having put seal upon any of it that might 
be left from the fire, he had to instal as temporary Ranger 
one of the Sherwood men whom he might think fit and trust 
worthy. Then a messenger was to be despatched with another 
parchment to the Abbot of York: writ this time in true Nor 
man tongue. 

After these things were executed Master Simeon was to 
turn his men about, and march them determinedly upon the 
outlaws' stronghold, which was now known to be at Barnes- 
dale, and exterminate the band. 

A task none so easy, after all! 

For the satisfactory doing of these small commissions Car 
fax was to receive one hundred and fifty pieces of gold; and 
also would be accepted by the Sheriff as a fitting husband for 
the pale, hard-eyed demoiselle, Marie of Monceux. 'Twas this 
reward that made Master Simeon desperate and dangerous. 

The forester, John Berry by name, told Robin further that 
Carfax had clothed his body in chain-mail, and was carrying 
a dreadful axe in his belt with which to avenge the insult put 
upon him in the matter of the stag's horns. 

"Let us seek Barnesdale forthwith," said Robin. "I am 
all agog to warn Will o' th' Green for he has been a stout 
friend to me." 

"Hurry then, master," cried Berry, the forester. 'You 
are not far from the Barnesdale road. In sooth, as I followed 



your tracks, I wondered how you had come so far within a 
very short space. You are now within touch of Gamewell." 

It was true. In the mazy forest they had nearly described 
a circle, and were now perilously nigh to Gamewell and the 

An idea came to Robin. He turned to Warrenton. 

"Could we but find that underground path whereby cousin 
Geoffrey came and went from the pleasance, old friend," said 
he, "why we might play the Yellow Lady to purpose!" 

"Excellence," replied Warrenton, "I will undertake to 
bring you to the forest entrance of Master Will's castle within 
a score of minutes." 

"Lead us, Warrenton and I prithee be better guide than 
you have been so far in this adventure." 

After taking many by-paths, and through a big tunnel- 
shaped cave, the path became dry again, and lighter: and 
soon they saw that the end was near. They emerged pres 
ently, tired and dirtied; and found themselves under the bank 
of a little jumping woodland river far down in a gorge of 
rock and brake, studded and overhung with thick trees. 

It was a wild spot : and only the notes of the birds and the 
rush of the falling water disturbed it. But ere they had pro 
ceeded a quarter of a mile up the bank of the stream a sudden 
bend in it brought them the harsh noise of desperate and near 

Loud shouts and battle-cries sounded on their left; and, 
running speedily in this direction, our four adventurers chanced 
upon a strange sight. 

It was strange by the manner of their view of it; for, having 



clambered up the bank to the top of the gorge, they saw them 
selves on the highest edge of a spur of ground with the low 
down rocky valley of the river behind, and before them a little 
narrow plain as equally below them as was the water they 
had left. On this plain were a number of men engaged in 
deadly battle. Round and about were the thick dark woods of 

A moment's glance showed Robin that they had arrived too 
late to help Will o' th' Green by way of warning. The out 
law's foes were upon him, and seemingly had the robber and 
his band at a disadvantage. 

The ground descended below the four onlookers so ab 
ruptly as to cut them off from the plain. They were near to 
the battle; and yet altogether remote from it. 

"Our arrows must do duty for us, then," muttered Robin, 
grimly, soon as he understood this. "Fit shafts across your 
bows, friends, and aim with all your hearts in it. Let not 
those of either side see us. 'Tis thus that our services shall 
be of most value to Master Will." 

They dropped to their knees and aimed their arrows care 
fully. They had full quivers with them, and Warrenton and 
Robin felt themselves in a manner to be pitted one against 
the other. The battle raged so furiously below, however, 
that for a minute these allies were compelled to remain idle 
not daring to loose their shafts for fear of slaying friends as 
well as foes. 

Sounds of a horn, shrill and impatient, suddenly called 
the soldiers back to their ranks beside Master Carfax. Robin 
spied this worthy now; and saw that he bestrode a black horse 



clumsily as if armored indeed. Simeon evidently had with 
drawn his men from a melee for fear that in it he might not be 
properly protected. He was seen to be issuing orders very 
peremptorily to the men. 

Meanwhile the outlaws rallied themselves to their leader's 
side. They were sadly decreased in numbers; and, whilst 
the living thus formed about in battle array, there were many 
poor fellows of both sides left upon the field who stirred not 
even to the imperative commands of their commanders. 

Now w r as Robin's chance. 

"Choose your man, each one of you," said he, in a sup 
pressed eagerness; " and soon as the soldiers issue at the charge 
shoot down upon your mark." 

Carfax gave an order almost as he spoke. Instantly 
Robin loosed his bow, and singing death flew from it. He 
overturned the soldier nearest to Master Simeon, even as 
Warrenton's shaft struck another dead at once. 

The forester Berry and little Stuteley added to the confu 
sion both wounding the same soldier simultaneously. Then 
Carfax, believing that these arrows came from Will's band, 
sounded a charge and spurred his horse forward amongst his 

They rushed forward with swinging axe and clanking sword 
upon the outlaws, who now delivered a sudden stream of shafts. 
These Robin's band supplemented by shrewder arrows. Seven 
of the soldiers rolled over as they ran, killed forthwith; and 
Robin, having pricked Simeon's horse, shot him again in the 
ear whilst meaning to find his master. 

The beast plunged wildly into the soldiers, trampling and 



scattering them. But many managed yet to meet the rob 
bers, and the desperate hand-to-hand fighting was recom 

Robin bade the others cease. The four of them peered 
from out of their cover over the crest, and watched breath 
lessly. Carfax had fallen from his horse and lay floundering 
on the close grass. Stuteley sped a gooseshaft into his fore 
arm ere Robin could check him. 

Warrenton drew his master's attention and anger away 
from his esquire by a quick whisper. 

"See, lording quick! Look how some of the enemy do 
creep about Master Will; they will strike him and his fellows 
from the rear!" 

"The two who lead them are not uniformed like as not 
they are those treacherous ones whom I have such cause to 

So muttered Robin, with parted lips, and gasping his words 
disjointedly. "Smite them, Warrenton," cried he, suddenly 
and excitedly. "Speedily, instantly or they will end this 
fight against us. Nowl" 

Their arrows flew together, marvellous sho'ts, each finding 
its prey. The two wretches threw up their arms as they ran; 
and, uttering dismal cries, fell upon the earth, and in their 
death-struggles tore up vain handfuls of the soil. 

"Follow, follow," called Robin, to his three faithful ones. 
" Locksley ! A Locksley ! To the rescue !" 

They tumbled headlong down the slope, shouting vocif 
erously as they came. The soldiers, alarmed and already 
disheartened, imagined that these eager enemies were but 



Their arrows flew together, marvellous shots, each 
finding its prey. 


forerunners of a large reinforcement. Hastily they disengaged 
themselves from the outlaws, and, gathering up Master Car 
fax, rushed pell-mell with him backward to the woods on the 

Will o' th' Green's few men hurried them with their arrows; 
and soon as Robin had come down to level ground he fell to 
streaming his shafts into the rout. He was bruised, begrimed, 
and cut about his face by the thorns and rocks; yet was so 
furious against Master Simeon and his myrmidons that these 
things were not even felt by him. Shouting "Locksley! 
Locksley !" more and more triumphantly, he ran alone in fierce 

The soldiers disappeared under the trees, and ran even 
then. Warrenton and the outlaws came on in support of 
young Robin; and the defeat of Carfax and his men was com 
pleted. They were chased through the woods of Barnesdale, 
which these wild outlaws knew so well. Some were shot with 
arrows mercifully; others fell under the cruel blows of the 
outlaws' short axes. A few escaped with Master Carfax back 
to the Sheriff of Nottingham not one-third of those who had 
set out at his command. It was the most desperate of affairs 
yet betwixt the greenwood men and those representing law 
and order as conceived by the Sheriff. On either side many 
were killed the outlaw band was reduced in numbers, and 
its leader, Will o' th' Green, was amongst those who were to 
plot and fight no more in Sherwood. 

When Robin and the rest of them returned from their long 
chase, tired with an immense fatigue, they found sad work 
still before them. Robin tended Will himself, and bound up 



his many wounds: and sought to beguile him to live if but 
to spite Monceux and his wretches. But Will o' th' Green had 
been pierced too dreadfully by his enemies' darts : he had only 
strength to drink a little water and say his last words to his men. 

In the dusk of this day he lay in Robin's arms, wizard no 
more; and asked that someone should give the call he knew so 
well the strange, short signal upon the horn which ever had 
rallied these men. Then as they, with dejected faces, drew 
nigh to him, he spoke to them all bidding them hate the laws 
and defy them so long as they were unjust and harsh. He 
counselled them to choose amongst themselves a new leader 
one who would be impartial and honest; and the one who could 
bend the best bow. 

"Be not robbers to any who are poor and who are good 
fellows having only their poverty against them. Be kind 
to those who help you, but exact toll as heretofore of all who 
come through the greenwood. The rich to pay in money, 
and blood if it be necessary." 

He added these words with an effort; and his mind wan 
dered in the shadowy fields of death. Robin saw how his 
fingers twitched, as if they plucked still the cord of his good 
yew bow. He smoothed back Will's dark hair from off his 
brow, and put water to the outlaw's lips. Will o' th' Green 
glanced up at him, and something of his old expression half- 
grim, half -smiling showed that he struggled still to hold hands 
with life. 

"For you, Locksley," he muttered, puckering his brows, 
"there are two roads open. One, to yield thyself to Monceux 
and the rack for not even your uncle at Gamewell should 



save you, even did he so wish; the other to join with these 
honest fellows and live a free life. What else is left to you? 
If you would be as dutiful to the laws as the earth to summer 
sun, it should not avail you. Your lord the Sheriff is in the 
hands of his girl and she listens with willing ear to Master 
Carfax. Ask not how I know these things. Your cousin is 
outlawed " 

"I shall live in the greenwood, Will," answered Robin, 
quietly, "with your brave men and you if so be I may. 
Have I won now the freedom of the forest?" He showed him 
the broken peacocked arrow which the Clerk of Copmanhurst 
had given him. 

The outlaw held up his right hand and laid it on Robin's 
bowed head: "Upon you, Robin of Locksley, do I bestow, 
with this my last breath, full freedom of the forests of Eng 
land," he said, very loudly. Then he relaxed from his frown 

to a rare smile. "Learn this sign " he said, and showed 

Robin, with feeble fingers, how the greenwood men knew each 
other in any disguise. It was a simple signal, very easy to 
know, yet very sure. No one might suppose it given by acci 
dent yet of design it appeared quite innocent. The smile 
was fading from Will's face as Robin repeated it carefully 
after him; and even as he spoke again he died. 

"Farewell friends all take this brother into your good 
company, and make him and those with him right welcome. 
I pray you to remember and abide by those kindly rules which 
have always always " 

His speech fell away into meaningless words, and the light 
left his face. He moved in Robin's arms and sighed. Then, 



as his body rolled slowly over, and he lay with his back turned 
to them, they saw that his worst wound was in it a dastard's 
blow. So ended the life of Will o' th' Green or Will of 
Cloudesley: he of whom many stories have been told in other 

They took him up reverently and buried him in a secret 
place so that none to this day can say where he lies. And 
the outlaws swore an oath of vengeance against him who had 
so foully slain their chief. 

Robin guessed wisely that the mortal blow had been given 
by one of those two traitors in Will's own camp. Had they 
not been riding with Carfax in the early morn not as prison- 
ers-of-war but as informers and spies? 

The next day was passed in burying the dead of both sides. 
The outlaws accepted Robin without question as one full wel 
come amongst them; and Warrenton, Stuteley, and John 
Berry were also given the freedom of the woods and taught the 
signs and freemasonry of them. 

The bodies of the soldiers and mercenaries were stripped 
and heaped together into a pit, and roughly covered with earth 
and leaves. Then the outlaws betook themselves to their 
caves to settle who should be chief of the band in Will's 

Whilst they were employed in this difficult business, the 
Sheriff sent out another and larger body of armed men obey 
ing the insolent command of his Prince. Fear sat upon the 
soul of Monceux then : for he did not doubt that another such 



disaster as that which had chanced to his other men would 
mean disgrace and the end of his lord-shrievalty. 

This second company who were captained by Hubert the 
Archer, with bandaged Carfax second in command, had an 
easy conquest, however, of Sherwood and Barnesdale for 
none challenged them, nor questioned their proceedings in 
any respect. Nor was there sign left in the woods of Robin 
or the outlaws they were vanished so utterly that Carfax 
conceived them all to have either died of their wounds or fled 
disconsolate from the neighborhood. 

In either event this was most excellent news; and, having 
patrolled the forest and searched it indifferently well, the 
men-at-arms of Nottingham agreed that peace-loving folk had 
no more to fear from the wild spirits of Sherwood. They were 
gone, banished and the King's forest was now safe of passage 
to all. 

Carfax, poking here and there, found the fresh grave of 
his own fellows, and disturbed it mightily. He bade Hubert 
disinter them all ; and pretended to recognize each one. Here 
was the arch-rebel Will of Cloudesley this one was the sec 
ond man of his band. Here was young Robin Fitzooth, as 
dead as mutton and here was his fellow Stuteley. So Master 
Simeon went on, to his own satisfaction and to Hubert's, who 
foresaw large rewards to be paid for these poor dishonored 

They brought three of them back, with every circumstance 
of importance. They were shown to the Prince as being the 
last remains of Will Cloudesley, Robin Fitzooth, and Hall the 
Outlaw a well-known marauder in Will's company. 



Prince John forthwith praised the pikemen and archers, 
and bade Monceux give them great rewards a thing which 
vexed the mean Sheriff much. Then they all rode about and 
through the forest in a great hunt of the Royal deer, graciously 
attended by the Prince himself. 

Monceux was forgiven; and Simeon, having quite re 
covered all his old self-esteem, was duly betrothed to the 
demoiselle Marie. A new Ranger was appointed at Locks- 
ley; and another house was found for him. No one said 
him nay. 

A proclamation against all outlaws and freebooters having 
been issued and signed with many flourishes by John, he be 
took his Royal person to York, carrying lean-faced, smiling 
Carfax with him. Mistress Monceux hid her sorrow and de 
voted her energies forthwith towards the undoing of the maid 
Fitzwalter, against whom she yet nursed much spite. 

The Prince stayed at Gamewell on his way, and patronized 
indulgently old George Montfichet, although the latter's dis 
like of his Royal guest was only too thinly veiled. Then 
John took farewell of Nottingham and Sherwood, making an 
easy business of it. Monceux had ridden out on this morning 
to make dutiful obeisance and escort the Prince through Locks- 
ley to the borders. 

Outside the gates of Gamewell John delivered himself to 
the men-at-arms, retainers, burgesses, and citizens of Not 
tingham, who had inquisitively followed the Sheriff. 

"We will not forget your hospitality, friends all," said he, 
in his slightly swaggering and yet withal effeminate way; 
"and see, in some measure of return for it, we leave you our 



Sherwood free from pestilent robbers and evil defiers of the 
law. When we came to Nottingham there were these and 
others; but now they are all driven out of our Royal forest 
many slain with the arrows of my Hubert, or beaten with the 
staves of your own fellows. This surely is some sort of gift 
see to it that you keep well that which we have secured for 


Then he rode forth amid the cheerings of the crowd, Hubert 
and his followers scattering largesses as they rode. 



A~J through that long winter Robin had lain hidden in 
the Barnesdale caves with the remains of the band of 
outlaws which had begun with Will of Cloudesley's 
advent and nigh ended with his death. At first there had been 
some quarrelling and jealousy amongst them as to who should 
be the new captain. 

There were, with Robin and his three recruits, twenty 
and two men all told. These had decided upon many tests 
between themselves in order to settle who should lead; and 
when there were tests of archery Robin had beaten them all. 

Yet he had no wish to set himself at their head, having 
sped his arrows so well more for the reason that a good bow 
man cannot but aim well when his fingers are upon his weapon. 
So he had said modestly that they must reckon without him, 
and that he would gladly obey the man the others should choose. 

Then there had been fresh bickerings, and they were once 
nearly discovered by the Sheriff's foresters, who by some means 
stumbled upon one of their underground passages. 

The winter brought with it many privations; and they 
decided at length to leave Barnesdale and go into the county 
of Lincoln. They made their ragged clothes as much like 
those of the King's Foresters as they could and then set out. 

One thing had been agreed on: that they must have some 
new clothes and induce other bold spirits to join with them: 
else Sherwood would be lost to them for ever. 



Robin had quite decided to cast in his lot with these men. 
He felt that they would be loyal to each other, and he knew 
that the only traitors which this band had known were now 
no more. A bitter hatred of the Sheriff; of lying Carfax and 
of Royalty, as personified by the unjust, indolent Prince, had 
moulded Robin's character into steel, as it were. 

Robin had counselled this journey to Lincoln. In the 
secret caves about Barnesdale, Will of Cloudesley had amassed 
and stored away much wealth. It was useless to them here 
in Nottingham; but in Lincoln one of them might go in to the 
market and buy sufficient Lincoln cloth and needles and thread 
to fit them all out. 

Swords might also be obtained; and some shirts of chain- 
mail, new bows and new arrows. 

The band started away under cover of a crisp February 
night, and had come into sight of Lincoln within three days. 
They had just finished their morning meal of the third day 
when they were overtaken by a stoutish man whose clothing 
was of the most remarkable description. He wore a cloak 
which was so clouted and patched that the first part of it 
hung about him in a dozen folds. He had on his head three 
hats, one rammed tightly over the other, so that he cared 
neither for wind nor rain. On his back was a bag held by a 
thong of strong leather about his neck. In his right hand was 
a long crooked stick. 

The outlaws had naturally hidden themselves at first sound 
of his footsteps. They watched him go by, and passed jests 
between themselves concerning him. Stuteley begged that 
he might be allowed to play a joke upon the fellow. 



" Go after him by all means, if you will," said Robin; "but 
be polite, for I have it in my mind that this is a man known to 
me. I would that I could hear him speak." 

"Follow me, master, warily, and you shall hear him speak 
to a purpose!" cried little Stuteley. 

When the stranger found that someone walked behind 
him, he quickened his pace. Stuteley called out to him, but 
he made no reply. 

"Stand, as I bid you, fellow," cried little Stuteley again, 
"for you shall tarry and speak to me." 

"By my troth," said the other, answering him at last, "I 
have no leisure for talk with you, friend. 'Tis very far to my 
lodging and the morning grows. Therefore, I will lose my 
dinner if I do not hasten." 

"I have had no meat nor bread betwixt my lips this day," 
retorted Will Stuteley, coming up with him. "And I do not 
know where I may get any, for if I go to a tavern they will ask 
me for money, of which I have not one groat, unless you will 
lend me some until we do meet again?" 

The clouted man replied very peevishly: "I have no 
money to lend you, friend; for I have lost the little I had 
in a foolish wager made at Nottingham. But you are a 
younger man than I, though you seem to be more lazy; 
so I can promise you a long fast if you wait until you 
have money from me." 

Now, something in the man's tones roused memories in 
little Stuteley, yet he could not resolve them into shape. The 
fellow's face was so obscured by the three hats that one could 

scarcely get a peep at it. 



"Since we have met this day," said Stuteley, wrathfully, 
"I will have money of you, even though it be but one penny. 
Therefore, lay aside your cloak and the bag about your neck; 
or I will tear it open. And should you offer to make any noise 
my arrows shall pierce your fat body like unto a cullender." 

The man laughed discordantly; and again Stuteley thought 
he recognized him. 

"Do you think, friend, that I have any fear of your arrows? 
Stand away or I will beat you into grist." 

Stuteley bent his bow and set an arrow upon the cord, but 
not so quickly as to save himself from a mighty thwack from 
the man's cudgel. The little esquire sprang back, and in doing 
so dropped both bow and arrow. Nothing dismayed, he drew 
his sword, and engaged at once with the stranger. 

Their blows fell about each other's bodies like hail, and 
Stuteley found that not all his Cumberland tricks could help 
him with so furious an opponent. His enemy had little skill, 
but plenty of strength and agility; his stick whirled and 
twirled, beating down Stuteley's guard time after time. He 
was, besides, a bigger man and much older. 

Robin's esquire began to see that he had met a sturdy op 
ponent, and even as this tardy knowledge came into his mind, 
the stranger gave him a crushing body blow, and he tumbled 
fairly to the ground. There Stuteley lay, with closed eyes and 
white face. 

" 'Tis a pity to rest so soon, friend," remarked the stranger, 
with irony. "Would it not be better to snatch my money 
from me, and take your ease afterwards in that tavern which 
you wot of?" 



Stuteley answered nothing, but lay deadly still. Robin 
and the rest were too far behind to perceive what had hap 
pened. The strange-looking man turned away without be 
stowing another glance on his little enemy, and soon his quaint 
figure disappeared over the brow of the next hill. 

Within a dozen minutes the outlaws came up and dis 
covered poor Will Stuteley lying on the ground, faintly 
moaning. They bathed his head , but could find no wounds. 
Robin was much upset, and began to eagerly question 
his esquire so soon as he showed signs of returning to 
his wits. 

"Tell me, little Will, what evil mischance has fallen to 
you?" asked Robin, with emotion. 

Stuteley raised his head and looked about him in a dazed 

"I have been all through the county of Cumberland, 
master," said he, at last, in a weak voice, "and I have wrestled 
and fenced with many; yet never since I was a child and under 
my father's hand have I been so put to it." He shut his eyes 
again; then opened them viciously. " I encountered with our 
fellow-traveller and saw no reason to fear such a clown. Yet 
he has scratched my back so heartily that I do fear it never 
will be straight again." 

"Nay, nay, Will. I'll nurse you well, be sure on't," mur 
mured Robin, full of pity and despair. 

"Dear master, I speak but as I feel," continued Stuteley, 
half shutting his eyes. "But the rascal has not gone far from 
us; and were some of you to hasten, doubtless he would be 
brought to book, and I might see him punished ere I die. Go 



you, old Warrenton, you are a stubborn fighter; and take John 
Berry and two of the rest." 

"I'll e'en fetch him to you myself, malapert," said War 

"He is more deadly than your Lady in Yellow, I promise 
you," said Stuteley. "Be wary, and let at least six of you 
surround him." 

"That would be wasting the time of five of us," answered 
old Warrenton, in an off-hand way; "I will go alone." 

"Let someone then prepare bandages for our Warrenton, 
and take my shirt for them. He will need such service." 

Warrenton and Berry, with another, ran off at this. Robin 
saw that Stuteley was not so near his end as he affected to 
imagine; and made him more comfortable beneath a tree, 
covered him with a cloak, gave him some drink, and ministered 
to him considerately. 

The old man-at-arms fully intended to capture their quarry 
alone; feeling to be on his mettle, as it were. So he ran as 
fast as he could before the other two; but not so fast as to 
catch up with the man he sought. 

Presently he espied him far down the road; and, knowing 
a shorter path to Lincoln, whither he judged the man was 
bound, Warrenton called to the others and they struck away 
from the road. 

They made their plans as they walked, and at length cut 
off the enemy. He did not look so formidable as Stuteley 
had painted him; and as he drew near they felt this was an 
easy business. Two of them sprang out upon him, and one, 
seizing his twisted stick, dragged it violently out of his hands. 



Warrenton flashed a dagger at his breast, saying sinisterly: 
"Friend, if you utter any alarm I will be your confessor and 
hangman. Come back with us forthwith and you may end 
your fight properly with our companion. He waits greedily 
for you." 

"Give me the chance," answered the fellow, valiantly," and 
I will fight with you all." 

Berry and the other outlaw instantly gave him the frog's 
march backward along the road; but the villain struggled so 
fiercely that they presently began to tire. 

"Now grant me my life," said their prisoner, "and I will 
give you good money to the sum of one hundred pieces. It is 
all my savings, which I promised to give into the hands of a 
wicked usurer in Lincoln." 

"Well," said Berry, pausing, "this is a fair sum, and might 
heal our companion's wounds very comfortably. Hold him 
fast, comrades, whilst I go back for his staff. Without that 
he cannot do much harm." 

Whilst he was gone the fellow began again. " I am a miller, 
friends," said he, much more at ease already, "and have but 
lately returned from doing a good bargain in wheat. Also, I 
am esteemed a fair archer, and, since I perceive that you are 
foresters all, this matter will tell with you in my favor. I 
could draw you a pretty bow had I but the use of my 

" Nay, master miller, but we would sooner hold you tight, 
and take your skill for granted," answered the outlaw. 

Berry came back and stuck the staff into the ground at a 
little distance. 



"Now count out your pieces, miller," said Warrenton. 

There was a keen wind blowing and the miller turned about 
so as not to face it directly they gave him half-freedom. 
Warrenton said gruffly to him: "Count, miller; count truly 
and honestly." 

"Let me open my bag then," said the rogue. He un 
fastened it from his neck, and, setting it on the ground, took 
off his patched cloak. He placed his bag carefully upon it, 
holding the bag as though it were heavy indeed. Then he 
crouched down over it and fumbled at the leathern thong. 

The outlaws had all gathered closely before him as he 
plunged in his fingers. In the bag were too pecks of fine meal; 
and as soon as the cunning miller had filled his hands full he 
suddenly drew them out and dashed the white powder fair 
into the eager faces of the men about him. 

Then he snatched up the bag by the two corners and shook 
out the rest of the meal. It blew in a blinding cloud about 
Warrenton and the rest, and filled their eyes so utterly as to 
leave them all three at the miller's mercy. 

He caught up his stick and began to belabor them soundly. 

"Since I have dirtied your clothes, friends," cried he, be 
tween the blows, " 'tis only right that I should dust them for 
you! Here are my hundred ' pieces '; how like you them?" 

Each word was accompanied by a tremendous thwack. 
He fell so heartily into the business as to become unwary. 
Robin and the rest, hearing the shouting and noise, came 
speeding down the road, with Stuteley recovered already. 
They chanced on a strange sight. 

Berry, old Warrenton, and the outlaw were dancing about 



in an agony of rage, helpless and blind, and striking vain 
blows at empty air. The man with the three hats was be 
laboring them with his staff so thoroughly as to have become 
a man with no hat at all. They all were tumbled upon the 

"Why all this haste?" roared he, not noticing Robin or 
the others. "Why will you not tarry for my money? 'Tis 
strange that no man will wait upon me this day, whilst I am 
in so generous a mood!" He sprang up and down, whacking 
them without ceasing. His feet encountered one of his many 
hats and ruthlessly kicked it aside. 

; 'Tis Much the Miller!" cried Robin, recognizing him by 
his voice : 'Tis the miller who helped to save me in Sher 
wood. Friend, you have never yet paid me my guinea, and 
I now do claim it of you." 

Master Much ceased his occupation. He turned warily 
about to Robin. So soon as he had looked well at him, he 
dropped his stick and came over very frankly to him. 

"So it's the gipsy?" said he, grinning all over his broad 
face. "And they have neither flayed you nor hanged you yet? 
And are these fellows with you?" 

"We are the free men of Sherwood," said Robin, "and 
were coming to Lincoln to get ourselves new clothes and 
weapons. Also we had hoped to find other good men and 
true willing to join with us." 

Much went up to Stuteley, and craved his pardon very 
handsomely at this. "Had I but looked at you, friend, I 
might have known you for the other gipsy, and these fellows 
for some of those who did save you both from Master Carfax. 



That is always my way : but never have I been so sorry for't 
as on this day, for now, through being too hasty, I have lost 
your good will." 

"Nay, Master Miller, but that is not so," said Stuteley. 

Warrenton and Berry at first were inclined to play with 
the miller as he had with them ; but Robin pleaded so well for 
good fellowship that, after a little, peace was proclaimed. 

Much, to atone for his misdeeds, undertook to do their 
business in Lincoln; and set himself busily to work on their 
behalf. He found them all comfortable and quiet quarters 
where they might stay unnoticed and unmolested, and Stute 
ley went with Robin to buy the cloth for their suits. 

They stayed in and about the old town for nearly three 
weeks, until all were well equipped. Much asked that he 
might join with them and bring his friend Midge and a few 
other merry souls. 

Robin explained to him that they had rules, which, al 
though few and simple, were strict, and that they had, at pres 
ent, no especial leader, since all had elected to remain equal 
and free, observing the same laws and pledged to each other 
in loyalty unto death. A common bond of independence 
bound them. 

"Why, then, master, we are your men," said Much; "for 
we are all sick to death of the Normans and their high-handed 
ways, to tell truth; and right gladly will we take service with 


"I am not the first or only man of our company," began 
Robin, smiling; but hasty Much interrupted him with a great 




"You shall be my captain, gipsy, I promise you! And 
captain of us Lincoln men; for you did beat me in archery 
before the Prince, so I am bound to own you as master. Here's 
my hand on it; and Midge's too. Come hither, Midge, and 
swear fealty to Robin of Locksley." 

Robin recognized Midge for the ferret-faced man who had 
been with Much at the tourney. Both insisted on paying over 
to Stuteley the amount of the wager lost by them on that day. 

The outlaws returned to Sherwood well satisfied; and at 
Barnesdale went on perfecting their plans and adding to their 
numbers. The day came at length for them to announce 



ONE bright morning in May a slim, straight youth, 
slightly bearded, dressed in a green suit, with bow un 
strung, and a fresh color blowing on his cheeks, came 
out of the wood upon the highroad by Copmanhurst. 

He stood erect, quietly alert, and with his brown eyes 
watchful of the road. He then moved softly along the road 
until he came to where but last year the brook had sprawled 
and scrambled across it. Now a fine stone bridge had been 
built, at the word of Prince John, who had complained much 
at having wetted his feet when he had passed by St. Dunstan's 
shrine eight months agone. 

The stranger smiled as he looked at the bridge, half sadly, 
half in reverie. He paused to admire the neat work; then 
slowly walked over the bridge still thinking deeply. Sud 
denly he plumped himself right into the arms of a tall, un 
gainly man, who had crossed from the other side. 

The youth sprang back; then planted his lithe body 
exactly in the center of the bridge. 

"Give way, fellow," roared the other, instantly. "Make 
room for your betters, or I will throw you into the brook!" 

The younger man laughed. "I know this little stream 
right well, friend. Therefore I have no need to make that 
closer acquaintance of it which you promise." 

:< You may be acquainted and yet make better acquain 
tance," returned his big opponent, stirring not an inch. "This 
bridge is too narrow for us both. One must go back." 



" Go back then, friend, by all means. I will not stay you." 

"Now will I trounce you right well, stripling," cried the 
tall man, grasping his cudgel. He made a pass or two with 
it about the head of the youth. 

The latter jumped back and fitted an arrow to his bow. 

"Nay, by my body, but this is ungenerous of you, for 
ester," cried the tall man. "I have only a stick and you have 
a bow! If we are to fight, surely you might fight fairly." 

Again the youth laughed brightly. "Nay, by my inches, 
friend," replied he, "but how can we fight fairly with staves 
when you are so much the bigger?" 

"Cut yourself a longer cudgel, friend," retorted the big 

The youth threw down his bow, and, opening a knife which 
hung at his waist, went forthwith towards the nearest bush. 
He cut himself a stout ash staff and fell to trimming it deftly. 

When it was complete he came coolly up to his foe. 

"Make ready, friend," said he, giving his cudgel a twirl. 
"Now take tune from me. One, two " 

"Three!" roared the giant, smiting at him instantly. 

The fight was a long one, for the youth had such skill and 
so ready a guard that the other but wasted his anger on him. 
This "stripling" jumped from one side to the other so lightly 
and unexpectedly, and parried each thrust so surely, that 
presently the giant relaxed a little from the fury of his on 
slaught. Then the youth ran in and gave him such a crack 
as to make the welkin ring. 

"By my life, but you can hit hard!" cried the giant, drop 
ping his stick that he might rub his pate. "For so small a 



man that was a right hearty blow." He picked up his stick 
again. "Fall to, spitfire. I am ready!" 

They sparred for a minute longer, and then the giant had 
his chance. He caught the jumping youth so sound a thwack 
as to send him flying over the low parapet of the bridge far 
into the bubbling brook. "How now, spitfire? Have you 
had enough?" 

"Marry, that have I," spluttered his antagonist, trying 
to scramble out of the rushing water. Then he became dizzy 
again, and fell back with a little cry. 

The big man vaulted down to his help, and plucked his 
foe to the bank. There he laid him down on the grassy sward 
and fell to bathing his brows with handfuls of fresh water till 
the youth opened his eyes again. 

"Friend," said the stripling, gravely, sitting up, "you 
dealt me that blow most skilfully. Tell me your name." 

"Why," said the giant, a little awkwardly, "as for the 
blow, 'twas but an under-cut that I know well. My name is 
John Little Nailor." 

"You are anything but little, friend," answered the youth, 
struggling to his feet. "And now I will give you my name 
also." He put a horn to his lips at this and blew a strange, 
shrill note. 

Forthwith the greenwood was alive with men, all dressed 
in grass-colored clothes like the youth's. They swarmed 
about him, full two score and ten of them. One of them, a 
little man, having eyed the stranger askance, gave a signal 
to the others to seize him; but the youth forbade this. "The 
fight was a fair one, friends, and the right of this bridge be- 



longs for the moment to Master John Little Nailor. Take 
your rights, friend," he went on, turning to the giant, "and go 
upon your way." 

"In a manner, stripling, you have now the better of this 
adventure, and yet do forbear," returned Master Nailor. 
"Wherefore I like you well, and would ask again your name." 

"Tell him, Will," commanded the youth. 

The little man, stepping up to the giant impudently, then 
announced his master. "Know, fellow, that this is none other 
than a dead man a wraith, indeed ! At least, so saith Master 
Monceux, the lord Sheriff of Nottingham. This is Robin 

"Then I am right sorry that I beat you," answered Master 
Nailor. "And had I known you at the first your head would 
now be whole and your body unbruised. By my inches, but 
I would like to join with you and your company." 

"Enter our company, then, John Little; and be welcome. 
The rites are few; but the fee is large: for we shall ask un 
swerving loyalty of you, and you must give a bond that you 
will be faithful even unto death." 

"I give the bond, with all my soul, and on my very life," 
cried the tall man. 

"Master," said the little man, who was none other than 
our friend Stuteley, "surely we cannot consent to welcome this 
fellow amongst us having such a name? Harkee, John Little," 
he continued, turning to the giant, "take your new name from 
me, since you are to be of our brotherhood. I christen you 
Little John!" 

At this small jest the merry men laughed long and loud. 



"Give him a bow and find a full sheath for our friend Little 
John, Warrenton," said Robin, joyfully. "And hurry, friends, 
for surely it is the moment when our first new defiance of 
Master Monceux is to be made? Fall back into the woods 
speedily; and bide my signal. Little John, we now will try 
you. Stand out on the bridge path you have just won from 
me and parley with those who are coming along the road from 
York. Speak loudly that I may hear what answers you 

He gave a signal, and at once all disappeared even as they 
had come, swiftly and silently. Warrenton and Stuteley 
placed themselves low down behind bushes of white thorn. 
Warrenton, who had given his quiver to Little John, now pro 
duced a great bag from under a bush; and took out of it a 
dozen or more long smocks such as shepherds wear. Hastily 
Robin and Stuteley attired themselves as hinds, and the old 
retainer gave them each a crook to hold. He explored again 
his stores under the bushes, and dragged out a fat buck, freshly 
killed and ready spitted for the fire. 

Robin and those of the freemen who were now attired in 
this simple garb helped to pull the deer to the edge of the road; 
and, hastily making a fire, they soon had their meat cooking 
merrily. Little John eyed them askew, but made no offer to 
question them. He had recognized Robin by a sign which 
the other had given to him. 

Meanwhile the noise of a small company nearing them be 
came more evident; and presently seven horsemen turned a 
bend of the road. Their leader was a stout and haughty 
looking man clothed in episcopal garments, and so soon as he 



spied these shepherds he spurred his horse until he came level 
with them. 

Then he drew bridle sharply, and addressed himself to 
Little John. 

"Who are these, fellow, that make so free with the King's 
deer?" he asked, mildly, as one who wishes first to believe the 
best of every man. 

"These are shepherds, excellence," answered Little John. 

"Heaven have mercy! They seem more like to be robbers 
o* th' greenwood at first glance," said the priest. 

"One must not judge on half -hearing or half -seeing, lord 
ing," retorted Little John. 

"That is true, but I would question you further, good man. 
Tell me now who has killed this deer, and by what right?" 
His tones had passed insensibly to an arrogant note. 

" Give me first your name, excellence, so that I may know 
I speak where 'tis fitting," said Little John, stubbornly. 

"This is my lord the Bishop of Hereford, fellow," said one 
of the guards, fiercely. "Keep a civil tongue in your head, or 
'twill surely be bad for you !" 

Robin now came forward. "My lord," said he, bowing 
his curly head before the Bishop, "I did hear your questions, 
and will answer them in all truth. We are but simple shep 
herds, and tend our flocks year in and year out about the forest 
of Sherwood, but, this being our holiday, we thought there 
would be small harm in holding it upon one of the King's deer, 
since there are so many." 

"You are saucy fellows, in sooth," cried the Bishop, "and 
the King shall know of your doings. Quit your roast, and 



come with me, for I will bring you to the Sheriff of Notting 
ham forthwith! Seize this knave, men, and bind his hands." 

"Your pardon, excellence " 

"No pardon shall you have of me, rascal!" snapped the 
stout Bishop. "Seize him, my men!" 

Robin blew upon his horn a shrill, short note, and at once 
his freemen sprang out from behind the thorn-bushes and 
flung themselves on the bishop's guard. The good Bishop 
found himself a prisoner, and began to crave indulgence of the 
men he had been so ready to upbraid. 

"Nay, we will grant you no pardon, by my beard!" said 
Little John, fiercely. " Lend me that sword, friend," he added, 
turning to Stuteley, who had taken the weapon from one of the 
Bishop's guards. "Right skilfully will I make this church to 
be without a head." 

"There shall be no shedding of blood," cried Robin, inter 
posing, "where I can stay it. Come, friends, send these fel 
lows unto Nottingham with their legs tied under their horses' 
bellies. But my lord the Bishop of Hereford shall come with 
us unto Barnesdale!" 

The uri willing prelate was dragged away cheek by jowl 
with the half-cooked venison on the back of his own horse, 
and Robin and the band brought their guest to Barnesdale. 

As soon as dusk had passed they lighted a great fire in the 
center of a little hill-bordered glade, and fell to roasting the 
deer afresh. Another and fatter beast was set to frizzle upon 
the other side of the fire; and, as the night was chill, the men 
gathered close about their savory dinner. 

The Bishop sniffed the odorous air from his place of cap- 



tivity; and was nothing loth when they offered to conduct 
him to this fine repast. Robin bade him take the best place. 

"For you must know, excellence, that we freemen are all 
equal in each other's sight in this free land. Therefore we have 
no one whom we can specially appoint to do the honors such as 
your station warrants. Take, then, the seat at the head of our 
feast and give us grace before meat, as the occasion justifies." 

The Bishop pronounced grace in the Latin tongue hastily ; 
and then settled himself to make the best of his lot. Red 
wines and ales were produced and poured out, each man having 
a horn tankard from which to drink. 

Laughter bubbled among the diners; and the Bishop caught 
himself smiling at more than one jest. Stuteley filled his 
beaker with good wine each time the Bishop emptied it; and 
it was not until near midnight that their guest began to show 
signs that he wished to leave them. 

"I wish, mine host," said he, gravely, to Robin, who had 
soberly drunk but one cup of ale, "that you would now call 
a reckoning. 'Tis late, and I fear the cost of this entertain 
ment may be more than my poor purse will permit to me." 

"Why, there," answered Robin, as if perplexed, "this is a 
matter in which I am in your lordship's hands, for never have 
I played tavern-keeper till now." 

"I will take the reckoning, friends," said Little John, in 
terposing. He went into the shade and brought out the 
bishop's steed, then unfastened from the saddle a small bag. 
Someone gave him a cloak; and, spreading it upon the ground, 
Little John began to shake the contents of the Bishop's money 
bag upon it. 



Bright golden pieces tumbled out and glittered in the pale 
moonlight; while my lord of Hereford watched with wry face. 
Stuteley and Warrenton counted the gold aloud. 

"Three hundred and two pennies are there, master," cried 
Stuteley. "Surely a good sum!" 

" 'Tis strange," said Robin, musingly, "but this is the very 
sum that I was fain to ask of our guest." 

"Nay, nay," began the Bishop, hastily, "this is requiting 
me ill indeed. Did I not deal gently with your venison, which 
after all is much more the King's venison than yours? Further, 
I am a poor man." 

"You are the Bishop of Hereford," said Robin, "and so 
can well afford to give in charity this very sum. Who does 
not know of your hard dealings with the poor and ignorant? 
Have you not amassed your wealth by less open but more 
cruel robbery than this? Who speaks a good word for you or 
loves you, for all you are a Bishop? You have put your heels 
on men's necks; and have been always an oppressor, greedy 
and without mercy. For all these things we take your money 
now, to hold it in trust and will administer it properly and in 
God's name. There is an end of the matter, then, unless you 
will lead us in a song to show that a better spirit is come unto 
your body. Or mayhap you would sooner trip a measure?" 

"Neither the one nor the other will I do," snarled the 

Robin made Stuteley a sign and Will brought his master 
a harp: whereupon Robin sat himself cross-legged beside the 
fire and twanged forth a lively tune. 

Warrenton and most of the men began forthwith to dance; 



and Stuteley, seizing the Bishop by one hand, commenced to 
hop up and down. Little John, laughing immoderately, grasped 
the luckless Bishop by the other hand, and between the two of 
them my lord of Hereford was forced to cut some queer capers. 

The moon flung their shadows fantastically upon the sward, 
and the more their guest struggled the more he was compelled 
to jump about. Robin put heart into his playing, and laughed 
with the loudest of them. 

At last, quite exhausted, the Bishop sank to the ground. 

Little John seized him then like a sack of wood, and flung 
him across the back of his horse. Rapidly they led the beast 
across the uneven ground until the highroad was reached, the 
whole of the band accompanying them, shouting and jesting 
noisily. The Bishop of Hereford, more dead than alive, was 
then tied to his horse and the animal headed for Nottingham. 
'Tis the most and the least that we can do for him," said 
Robin, gleefully. "Give you good night, lording! A fair 
journey to you! Deliver our respectful homage to Master 
Monceux and to the rest of law-abiding Nottingham! Come 
now, Little John, you have borne yourself well this day; and 
for my part I willingly give the right to be of this worshipful 
company of free men. What say you, friends all?" 

The giant was admitted by acclamation, and then all went 
back noisily into that hiding-place in Barnesdale which had 
defied both the ferret eyes of lean-faced Simeon Carfax and 
the Norman archer Hubert. 

The Sheriff of Nottingham learned next day that Sherwood 
had not been purged of its toll-collectors, as he had so fondly 




A FTER the adventure with the good Bishop, Robin and 
/-3k his men waited in some trepidation for a sign from 
"^ ^ Nottingham. 

However, several weeks passed without any untoward 

The fourth week after my lord of Hereford's despoilment 
a quarrel broke out betwixt Stuteley and Little John; and 
these two hot-headed fellows must needs get from words to 

In the bouts of fencing and wrestling Little John could 
hold his own with all; but at quarter-staff Stuteley could, 
and did, rap the giant's body very shrewdly. After one bout 
both lost their temper: and Robin had to stay them by order 
ing Stuteley to cease the play. 

This was in the forenoon. Later on, chance threw Little 
John and Stuteley into a fresh dispute. It happened just 
before dusk; the two of them from different parts of the wood 
had stalked and run to earth the same stag. Little John had 
already drawn his bow when Stuteley espied him. At once 
the little esquire called out that no one had the right to shoot 
such a deer but Robin of Locksley, his master. Little John 
scoffed at this, and flew his arrow; but between them they had 
startled the stag and it bounded away. Little John was 
furious with Stuteley, and the noise of their quarrelling brought 
Robin again between them. This time young Robin spoke 



his mind to Little John, saying that he was sorry that Master 
John Little Nailor had ever come into their free band. 

"Tis not free at all!" cried Little John, raging. " Tis 
the most galling of service. Here I may not do this nor that. 
I'll stay no more in Barnesdale, but try my fortunes with your 

He flung himself away from them, and when the roll was 
called that night, the name of Little John evoked no response. 

Robin was vexed at this, and saw that they must come to 
some agreement if they would keep the company alive. He 
talked with Warrenton and Much and some of the others, and 
they all pressed him to assume the captaincy by right of his 
skill with the bow. They decided between them to have a full 
council on the morrow and come to a decision: for without a 
captain they were as a ship without a rudder. 

The early morning found Robin walking thoughtfully in 
the greenwood. He hoped that he might discover Little John 
returning to them, repentant. He had taken a strange liking 
to this great giant of a man. 

As he walked, he drew insensibly toward the highroad; 
but had not nearly reached it when he came upon a herd of 
deer feeding peacefully in a glade. Robin got his bow ready. 
Before he could fit a shaft to it, however, one of the finest 
beasts fell suddenly, pierced by a clever arrow. 

Immediately he thought that Little John had indeed re 
turned; and was about to emerge from his hiding-place, when 
a handsome little page ran gleefully towards the dying buck 
from the other side of the glade. This was plainly the archer; 
and Robin, after a swift glance of surprise, moved out upon 



him. "How dare you shoot the King's beasts, stripling?" 
asked Robin, very severely. 

"I have as much right to shoot them as the King himself," 
answered the page, haughtily, and by no means afraid. "And 
who are you who dares to question me?" 

His voice stirred Robin strangely; yet he could fit no 
memory properly to it. The lad was very handsome, slim, 
dark-haired, and with regular features. 

"My name is my own," said Robin to him, "and I do not 
like your answering of a plain question. Keep a civil tongue 
in your head, boy, or you will one day be whipped." 

"Not by you, forester," cried the page, pulling out a little 
sword. "Put up your hands, or draw your weapon. You 
shall have such answering now as you can understand." 

He flourished his point valiantly; and Robin saw nothing 
for it but to draw also. The page thereupon engaged him quite 
fiercely; but Robin soon perceived that the lad was no great 
master of the art of fencing. 

Still, he played prettily, and to end it Robin allowed him 
self to be pricked on the hand. "Are you satisfied, fellow?" 
said the page, seeing the blood rise to the wound. 

"Ay, honestly," said Robin, "and now, perhaps, you will 
grant me the privilege of knowing to whom I owe this scratch?" 

"I am Gilbert of Blois," replied the page, with dignity; 
and again his voice troubled Robin sorely. He was certain 
that he had met with it before; but this name was strange to 
his ears. 

"What do you in the greenwood at such an hour, good 
Master Gilbert?" 



The lad considered his answer, whilst wiping his sword 
daintily with a pretty kerchief. The action brought a dim 
confused memory to Robin a blurred recollection of that 
scene discovered in the wizard's crystal troubled his thoughts. 
Meanwhile the little page had condescended to glance upon 

"Forester," said he, somewhat awkwardly, "can you tell 
me do you know aught of one Robin o' th' Hood? He is 
believed to have been killed in the fall o' last year, and truly 
they brought a body into Nottingham. He was a merry 

"This is brother to my Marian!" cried Robin, inwardly. 
"Ay, for sure, 'tis the lad Fitzwalter, and no Gilbert of Bloist 
Yet Warrenton did not tell me that there was a brother." 

He replied to the page. " Did not this fellow, this Robin, 
have other name? Robin o' th' Hood why, all of them wear 
their capes and hoods nowadays how can such a man as J 
know him whom you seek, to say whether he be dead or alive?" 

"Forester, he was much like to you; but had no beard, 
nor was he quite so uncouth as you. I mean no offence. I 
saw him but twice; but he seemed a lovable fellow. I re 
member that some called him Robin of Locksley." 

"I knew him right well," said Robin, in decided tones. 
"Come with me, Master Gilbert, and you shall hear of him." 

"He lives, then?" The page's blue eyes glistened happily. 

"Did your sister send you, Master Gilbert?" asked 
Robin, with his heart in his mouth. 

The boy gave him a puzzled stare. "My sister who told 
you that I had a sister?" Then, changing his policy with 



swift intuition: "Ay, my sister did send me to find the man. 
Bring me to him." 

"Follow me, Master Gilbert of Blois," cried Robin. So 
Marian had remembered him. It was a happy morning, in 

"This poor stag," began the page, pointing to it. "I 
wish now that I had not slain it." 

"Tis one of the King's deer," observed Robin, grave 
again, "and you may be hanged for the killing of it. What 
put so desperate a business into your mind, friend?" 

"I to tell truth, had a notion to be made outlaw, like 
like unto Master Robin, in short," said the page. "But I 
did not know that they might hang me for't." He made a 

Robin went up to the beast and drew out the boy's arrow. 
Then he stuck one of his own peacocked shafts into the wound. 
"Now you are safe, Gilbert," said he, smiling. "Take the 
arrow, and keep it in your quiver until we can dispose of it. 
I leave my mark upon the buck my fellows will find and deal 
with it." 

They walked together into Barnesdale, and Robin showed 
the boy their hiding-place and presented him to the rest. He 
asked that he might become one of their company, and all 
agreed. So he took the vow fervently, and was given Little 
John's place for the nonce. 

Robin asked them not to mention him by name, wishing 
to know more of Master Gilbert's plans ere disclosing himself. 
The boy was full of chatter, and had news for them, too. He 
gave them the sequel to the Bishop's adventure, and told how 



my lord of Hereford had come into Nottingham in parlous 
state more dead than alive: how he had lain prostrate upon 
a sick-bed in the Sheriff's house for the best part of three days : 
how, having briefly recovered, he had made a full statement of 
his experiences, and had cursed the greenwood men with bell, 
book, and candle: how he had sworn that he they thought to 
be dead Robin of Locksley was very much alive and full of 

"Master Monceux, whom I have no cause to love," con 
tinued Gilbert, in quick speech, "has bidden his archers and 
men to assemble, and has promised a round sum for the head 
of each greenwood man, such as I perceive you all to be, and 
since I am now of your company, friends, I suppose my head 
is worth as much as Master Robin's or any of yours? Which 
of you is Robin o' th' Hood? I fain would look upon a man 
who can recover from death so valiantly." 

Berry and Much were, both together, preparing to point 
to Robin, forgetting their promise. Robin gave them a quick 
glance of warning. "Come, friends, let us to breakfast," he 
cried, rising. " I am sharp set, and soon we shall be hearing from 
the Sheriff's men, no doubt. Let us fortify ourselves withal." 

All that morning went by, however, without further event. 
The greenwood men became uneasy. All felt that some ter 
rible plot was being hatched against them, and their unrest 
grew with the day. Had Little John turned traitor? And 
was he now preparing their enemies? 

Soon after noon Robin called them together into the biggest 
of their caves. He offered to disguise himself and go into 
Nottingham there to learn the best or worst. 



Many of them made objection to this, saying that one had 
no reason to take more risk than another in this free company. 
Robin persuaded them at last to his own way of thinking, as 
he had already done before. Unconsciously they were coming 
to regard him as their head, although any one of them would 
have fiercely denied this in open council. Robin took a staff, 
and hurried towards the highroad for the second time that day. 

He had another reason for making this adventure: the 
fond hope of seeing Mistress Marian. Her brother for so 
he felt sure this young Gilbert must be had stirred afresh 
in Robin's heart all his warm love for her. He wondered what 
he could say to her. 

Why, he could tell her of Gilbert's escapade! Of course 
she must be trembling at this very moment for the boy and 
thinking him in a thousand dangers! It was another duty 
added to that to which Robin bore towards the company of 
freemen. He doubled and trebled his pace. 

Suddenly, as he came upon the road, the sound of a lusty 
singing struck upon his ears. Robin became aware of a 
shabby cart and a bushy figure leading a bony horse, and the 
smell of fresh-killed meat. It was an honest butcher on his 
way to market in Nottingham. 

"Give you good day, friend," called Robin to him. "You 
have a fair load there what is your price for it?" 

"Why, truly, beggar, a bigger price than you will pay, I 
fear," answered the butcher, in the middle of his song. 

"I will give you four pieces of gold for it," said Robin. 

The butcher stopped his thin horse at once. "Take the 
reins then, master," cried he, joyfully; "the cart and all is 



yours for the sum! Pay it to me, and I will go back into 
Locksley forthwith." 

"Do you come from that village, friend?" asked Robin, 
as he paid over the gold, "and are you not afraid to ride 
through Sherwood alone?" 

"You are strange to this country, friend," answered the 
jolly butcher, "else you would know that now our Sherwood 
is free as air to all men. The outlaws and wicked ones have 
all been driven out of it." 

"Is this indeed so? Truly I am rejoiced at the news. 
And Locksley is not the Ranger there now dead, and his 
house burned? I do misremember his name." 

"Master Fitzooth is dead and lieth in Locksley ground. 
Also his son, wild Robin, is no more. He gave himself early 
to the outlaw band, and was slain. We have a new Ranger at 
Locksley, one Adam of Kirklees, a worthy man and a generous. 
I thank you for your gold : now take my load and may fortune 
befriend you." 

"God rest you, butcher," answered Robin, laughing, as 
the other turned on his heel and began his song once more. 
"Stay stay I have a thought," he called out after the 
butcher. "How can I sell meat in this garb?" 

The other paused and scratched his head doubtfully. 

"I'll give you another piece for your clothes, friend," said 
Robin, persuasively. "Is it a bargain?" 

"I'll do it for another piece," said the butcher. "Ay, and 
think myself fortunate. This is a very happy day, for sure. 
Strip yourself, beggar; and you can hand your purse over to 
me with the rags if you care to!" 



Robin laughed again and shook his head. The change 
was soon effected, and within ten minutes he was leading his 
spavined horse toward the gates of Nottingham. In the dis 
tance he could hear the butcher's loud song losing itself in the 
forest sounds. 

He smeared his face with grease and earth and rubbed his 
hair awry ere daring to enter the city. Boldly he led his 
shuffling horse to the market and there took up his place. He 
had no notion of the price to ask, and the folk, finding him so 
foolish and easy a man, soon began to crowd about the cart. 

Robin gave as much for a penny as the other butchers did 
for five or six when his customer was poor. If he seemed to be 
a prosperous citizen who would buy, Robin had quite another 
price for him. 

The butchers about him could not quite understand these 
novel methods : but they saw with envy that the hare-brained 
fellow was selling all his meat. His loud voice and foolish 
gestures made them think him some crazy loon who had slipped 
off with his good man's cart. They entered into conversation 
with him, and found his witless speech most entertaining. 

They had all been bidden to a supper in the Sheriff's but 
tery that night, this being holiday-time; and they begged Robin 
to join with them, hoping to have no little amusement from him. 
With a vacant stare he agreed to eat the Sheriff's mutton. 

All the time he had sharp eyes and long ears; but could 
find out nothing of the Sheriff's plans, nor happen on sight of 
Mistress Fitzwalter. When they were sitting down to the sup 
per in Monceux's buttery he perceived towering high amongst 
the Sheriff's servants the figure of Master Little John. 



"So, friend, my visit here has not been vain," thought 
Robin, grimly. " Now we shall see and hear things, no doubt." 
He settled himself to an attack upon the viands, and played 
his part with the Sheriff's ale, not forgetting to keep up the 
attitude of foolishness he had adopted in the market. 

The laughter grew long and loud, and presently the Sheriff 
himself came down. He made them a speech and gave a 
toast. My lord of Hereford, looking very pale and limp, 
also came into the buttery for a space and made them a Latin 

Then Monceux told them, with bristling eyebrows, how 
he had been instructed by the Bishop of Hereford that the 
pestilent evil bands whose power had once been broken had 
re-formed in Sherwood. The Sheriff re-stated the reward to 
be given for the head of any malefactor and disturber of their 
laws, as ordered by Prince John; and said further that in a 
few days he was going to despatch his men into and about the 
forest to satisfy the Bishop. "Whilst I am preparing my fel 
lows, there is a chance for all honest citizens and burgesses to 
earn a fair sum. My lord of Hereford will add his reward to 
the man who shall recover his money to him, or part of it; 
and I will give such man freedom from all taxes and levies," 
added the Sheriff, importantly. 

Robin wondered whether Little John had spoken of the 
company. While he was eyeing darkly the burly figure of 
Master Nailor, the latter came over to him under a pretence 
of filling Robin's glass. 

"By my skin, Locksley," whispered the giant into his 
startled ear, "this is a foolish adventure! Your head is as 



good as off your shoulders in this place. Hasten to leave it 
soon as you can, for fear the Bishop may know you as I have 

Robin only stared in his new half-vacant manner. Little 
John moved away to another part of the room. Hard ques 
tions formed themselves in Robin's mind how had Little 
John known him? Stranger still, why did not my lord of 
Hereford recognize Master John Little Nailor? He had been 
foremost in the business with the Bishop. Robin recollected, 
all at once, that when the Bishop had briefly come in to bless 
the supper, Little John had gone out hurriedly with some 

That was it, no doubt; but a mystery still remained. 
Robin decided to pierce it ere the night was done. Some of 
the guests were far gone in their cups, already; and Monceux 
had given over the buttery to the butchers for the night. 'Til 
stay here then," decided Robin; and, pretending to be sud 
denly overcome by the strong ale, he tumbled himself down 
upon the rush-strewn floor. 

He set up a great snoring, until Little John, taking him by 
the heels, dragged him through the kitchen into a little larder, 
and there shut the door on him. "Lie there, nasty pig," cried 
Little John from outside with disgusted air, for his fellow- 
servants to note. "Lie there in a clean sty for once; and if 
you grunt again I will surely souse you under the pump!" 
At this threat Robin's snores abated somewhat in their 

"/ would drop him into the river forthwith," spoke a harsh 
voice, startling Robin into fierce astonishment. There was 



no mistaking those tones: so cruel, so false, so malicious. 
"Roger and Micah Micah and Roger." One of these two 
villains it was of a surety! But Robin had seen them both 
slain on the day of that battle wherein poor Will of Cloudes- 
ley had perished? 

Trembling with amazement, he cautiously got upon his 
knees and peeped through the keyhole. In the flagged 
kitchen, amidst the reek of hot foods and disordered dishes, 
were two men one of them Little John. The other was 
dressed as a cook, and as he turned his face towards the light 
of the fire Robin knew him for one of the two traitor outlaws. 
He had changed little. 

Little John answered his remark over his shoulder: "You 
would do many a rash thing, Roger, if you could," was all he 
said; but he spoke in sneering tone. 

"Ay, marry; and one thing I would do, right instantly, 
dear gossip," said Roger, busying himself with the dishes. 
Robin saw that they shone like gold in the ruddy light of the 
fire. "I would not have you as helpmate in this kitchen had 
I the ordering of matters. Big hands and heavy hands and 
thieving hands. Ah, I need not be wizard to know them when 
I see them!" 

"You shall feel them, little Roger," said Little John, very 
angry. And he soundly cuffed the cook about the head. 
Roger snarlingly drew back and snatched up a dish. Full 
viciously he flung it at Little John, and after it another and 

The first struck the giant's shoulder and fell clattering upon 
the red tiles. The second dish struck Little John as he re- 




At last he made a dart upon Roger and the chase grew furious. Dishes, plates, 
covers, pots and pans all that came in the way of them went flying. 


coiled and cut his forehead and head. Blood ran down in 
stantly over his cheek. The third smashed itself against the 
wall harmlessly. Drawing in his breath, Little John com 
menced a long chase of his foe, who had raced off to the other 
side of the table. 

Neither man spoke, but each eyed the other warily. Anger 
shone on one face, jealous hate upon the other. They moved 
round and round the table carefully. 

There were knives in plenty upon it; and every now and 
again Roger would seize one and fling it hurriedly at his enemy. 
Little John ruthlessly followed him, without flinching or abat 
ing his set purpose by one jot. 

At last he made a dart upon Roger and the chase grew 
furious. Dishes, plates, covers, pots and pans all that came 
in the way of them went flying. The noise was awful; then 
suddenly ceased for Little John had grasped his prey by the 
short skirt of his tunic. In another second of time Roger was 
secured, fluttering, cursing, and green with a sick terror. 

Little John lifted him up bodily and flung him with all his 
strength against the wall of the kitchen. He rebounded from 
the wall to the dresser; and in convulsive agony gripped 
hold of those utensils near him. All fell, with reverbera 
tions of sound, downward with him to the ground. There 
Roger lay still save for a slight and hideous twitching of 
his mouth. 

Little John opened the door to Robin. "Hasten hasten 
away from here, soon as you can. There is danger and death." 

"And you?" 

"I shall escape. I have a story for them." Little John 

[197] ' 


suddenly pushed Robin back into the larder. ; 'Tis too late: 
be silent on your life." 

Some servants, alarmed by the din, entered. They found 
Little John, the new kitchen-drawer, bending in consternation 
over the lifeless form of the cook. "Run, run," cried he, scarce 
glancing at them. "Here is Roger the cook suddenly dying. 
His brain has given way. See how the foam flecks upon his 
lips. Get me water for him. Or stay, help me carry him to 
his bed." 

Little John picked him up tenderly and with a face full of 
seeming concern. The others, aghast at the mere thought of 
touching a madman, shrank back. The giant carried the un 
conscious Roger out of the kitchen. 

The servants came and busied themselves in restoring the 
kitchen to order. One of them opened the larder; but Robin 
had laid himself full length upon the top shelf. So he was not 

The night wore on and most of the servants went yawningly 
to bed. Little John returned, telling the few who remained 
that the cook was recovered from his fit; but was still delirious 
and unsafe. "I will bank the fire and sleep here, so that I may 
be able to go to him," continued Little John, with a kind air. 
"By my wits, but he did mightily scare me when first the dis 
temper showed in him. He sliced me with the spit. See how 
my head is cut, and my cheek shows you how his horrid teeth 
did meet in my flesh." 

"Did he indeed bite you, Master Nailor?" 

"By my bones, he bit and tore me like a wild beast. But 
since I am so big and not fearful of him I will e'en watch him 


through the night, unless you choose to do service, Mickle- 

Mickleham swore roundly that he would not. 

"Then get you gone, gossip," said the giant, busying him 
self with the fire. ; Tis late: and my lord of Hereford has 
business abroad at an early hour." 

He bade Robin go back into the buttery and stay there 
until dawn, there being no chance of escape out of the castle 
at this hour. "Play your part, Locksley, and avoid the 
Bishop's eyes even as have I. We may meet on the morrow." 

"You have not betrayed us, Little John?" 

"Roger the cook was to have sold you. Therefore have 
I quietened him for the nonce. Here's my hand on it, Locks- 
ley : that Little John is loyal. But I do not love Stuteley yet." 

"It will come in time," answered Robin, sleepily. "You 
are both sound fellows. Give you good night, honest John. 
I'll sleep none the worse for my pillow." He stretched him 
self amid the trampled rushes of the buttery, and laid his head 
upon the prone body of one of the sleeping butchers. Full a 
dozen of them had fallen into slumber to the Sheriff's rush- 
bottomed buttery floor. 

Little John went back to the kitchen and there carefully 
and silently collected Master Monceux's gold plate. He put 
it all into a stout sack, tied it up, and waited patiently for 



R1BIN woke from a heavy slumber at daybreak. A 
faint noise from without the buttery disturbed him. 
He very quietly rose up, and, picking his way across the 
room, came to the entrance to the kitchens. He opened one 
of the doors and found a passage, grey -lit by the first gleam of 

At the end of it was the figure of a man. His height re 
vealed him for Little John. Over his shoulders was a short 

Seeing Robin, he beckoned to him; then whispered his 
plans. But Robin did not intend to leave Nottingham so 

" Go, Little John, and take that which is in your sack " 

"I shall bring it to you, gossip," spoke Little John, in a 
muffled voice: "to your haunts in Barnesdale. You shall see 
who is the better servant Stuteley or myself. Here have I 
the Sheriff's plate " 

An audacious notion flashed upon Robin. 

"Take it to our cave in Barnesdale, honest John," said 
he, swiftly, indicating the sack, "and, harkee; I will follow 
later with such a guest as never our greenwood has yet carried. 
Lay out a royal feast and kill one of the fattest bucks. Take 
my dagger in token to them that I have sent you." 

"Who will you bring with you, gossip? Not my lord of 



"I will bring Monceux himself," said Robin, boldly. 
"Leave the business in my hands. Go now, if you know a 
safe road from out of this place." 

"I have a friend at the gate who will ask me no questions," 
answered Little John, softly. "But you?" 

"My wit shall lead me out from Nottingham," Robin 
told him. 

Little John let himself out by one of the postern doors, 
and found means to convey the Sheriff's plate through the 
streets. Afterwards when he reached the gate, he continued 
to win his passage by pure statesmanship, pretending that 
he had been sent out at that strange hour to snare young rab 
bits for his lord's breakfast! 

Meanwhile, Robin returned to the buttery, and waited 
for events to shape themselves. Ere long the butchers began 
yawning and quarrelling betwixt themselves; and Robin 
artfully persuaded them, by setting one against the other, to 
a free fight. 

The servants separated them, and in anger bade them all 
begone. Robin besought them to let him stay, saying that 
he wished an audience with my lord the Sheriff. 

"Out upon you, pestilent fellow!" cried one of the servants. 
"You scum of the earth! This comes of hobnobbing with 
such rascals. Go hence quickly, with your fellows, or we will 
break all your bones." 

So were they all bustled out into the cold streets, and 
Robin, in his butcher's smock, went back, as if very crest 
fallen, to his empty cart and lean horse. 

In due season the servants found that the Sheriff's new 



kitchen-hand was gone, and with him the gold plate. Then 
they remembered how he had been found with the cook. 

Roger was plucked out of his bed, with all his bruises and 
wounds upon him, to give evidence before Monceux, who was 
in a great fume. All that spite and jealousy might do Roger 
performed with gusto, and so fixed the blame upon Little John 
that no one else was even suspected. 

Roger would have now spoken as to Barnesdale, and be 
trayed the secret caves to the Sheriff; but he had once before 
persuaded them to search the cave near Gamewell, with ill 

"Enough of these tales," snarled the Sheriff; "keep them 
for the Bishop's ears. / am concerned for my plate; and will 
recover it ere I put forth on any other enterprise." 

He sent out his archers and men-at-arms, with such an in 
coherent description of Little John that near all the tall men 
of Nottingham were brought under arrest. The gate-keeper 
who had been so foolish as to open to Little John became so 
fearful of the Sheriff's anger that, when they questioned him, 
he vowed by all the saints that he had clapped eyes on no such 
fellow in his life. 

Monceux, getting more and more enraged, chanced at last 
upon the butchers. He bade them all to be brought before 

Small comfort did he gather from any, least of all from 
Robin, who behaved in so foolish a manner before the great 
man that all who had not believed him crazy before, were now 
well sure of it. 

He would persist in talking to the irate lord of his own 



affairs: how he had just inherited a farm with many head of 
cattle such beasts! how he had sold some of them in the 
market on the previous day for large moneys; how he intended 
to always sell at Nottingham, since there the people were so 
rich and generous. 

"I have full five hundred and ten horned beasts upon my 
land that I will sell for a just figure," said Robin. "Ay, to 
him who will pay me in right money will I sell them for twenty 
pieces. Is that too much to ask, lording?" 

Monceux, in the midst of his frenzy, suddenly quieted 
down. This was the idiot butcher of whom people had been 
chattering. No use to bluster and threaten him. 

Five hundred and ten fat beasts for twenty pieces! Was 
ever such a fool? "I'll buy your beasts of you, butcher/' 
said Monceux, "and will give you twice the money you ask." 

At this Robin was quite overcome, and fell to praising him 
to the skies. For the moment the missing plate was forgotten. 

"Drive in your beasts, butcher," said Monceux. 

"They are but at Gamewell, excellence," said Robin; 
" not more than a mile beyond it at most. Will you not come 
and choose your own beasts? The day is fine." 

The Sheriff dismissed all but Robin, in order that they 
might settle it quietly. If he did not close upon this bargain 
straightway it would be lost to him. 

After some hesitation, "I will go with you, butcher," spoke 
Master Monceux. After all, what had he to fear? Surely 
no man, be he ever so wicked and desperate an outlaw, would 
dare to lay hands upon the Sheriff of Nottingham! 

Monceux had all along suspected the Bishop of Hereford's 



story. There were no robbers in Sherwood now the Bishop 
had invented the tale in order to cover up some disgraceful 
carousal, and had bribed his men. It had been a plot by which 
my lord of Hereford had been able to foist himself and his 
company upon the Sheriff, and so gain both free lodging in 
Nottingham and save giving in charity to the poor folk of the 

Thus Master Monceux argued swiftly within himself. 

"Get ready, butcher, for," he said, briskly, "I will join you 
in a few minutes." 

He laid a solemn and dreadful charge upon the captain of 
his men-at-arms and upon those of his household to find 
him his plate ere he returned. He swore that their own 
goods should be seized and sold if they failed him in this 

Then he affected to be going in secret search himself. 

So the two of them, without guard, went off together, 
Robin driving his shambling horse and rickety cart beside 
the Sheriff's little fat brown pony. 

They passed through the gate, and Monceux left word 
there that his archers were to follow him to Gamewell so soon 
as they had returned from their searching for his plate. 

Robin was very gay, and kept the Sheriff amused with his 
foolish chattering. Monceux congratulated himself more 
and more. 

They had drawn nigh to Gamewell, and to that little 
gravel-pit wherein was one of the hidden passages to the 
Barnesdale caves. Peering irresolute through the tree-trunks 
far off to their right, Robin spied a herd of deer. 



They stood and trembled at sight of Robin and the Sheriff, 
preparing to stampede. 

Robin guessed that they had been driven by the greenwood 
men all that day that perchance Stuteley and the rest were 
near the beasts, in ambush. Reining in his lean horse, he 
turned in his cart to call to the Sheriff. 

"See, excellence, here are my beasts, coming to welcome me! 
Now choose those which your eyes like and pay me the gold." 

Monceux saw then that he had been duped, and flew into 
a terrible passion. Robin cut his reproaches very short, 
however; and, taking off his butcher's smock, blew on his 
horn that short, queer signal. 

The Sheriff turned to fly, but had not travelled a hundred 
yards ere, hearing an uncomfortable hissing sound, made by 
an arrow, as it flew just over his head, thought it better to 
stop. Robin had hidden his bow and quiver in the straw at 
the bottom of the butcher's cart. He now stood up and sped 
his shafts all round and about the poor Sheriff. 

Then Monceux reined up his fat pony and surrendered 
himself grudgingly, trying to bargain all the while. "If I 
give you my horse, and a golden penny, will you let me go, 
butcher?" said he, whiningly. "Did I not treat you well last 
night, giving you a fair supper and much ale? This is ill re 
quiting my usage of you, butcher." 

Suddenly he saw himself surrounded by the men of the 
greenwood, headed by Stuteley. Robin nodded, and in a mo 
ment the Sheriff was seized and hurried away to the gravel- 
pit, and his pony was set galloping in the direction of Notting 
ham with empty saddle. 



The greenwood men soon brought their captive through 
the dangerous passage, having first blindfolded him. Within 
five hours of his departure from Nottingham my lord the 
Sheriff found himself in a strange, unknown part of Sherwood, 
seated amongst two score and ten wild fellows, to a wilder 
meal of venison, brown bread, and wine. 

With a shock of surprise he saw that the hot, juicy portion 
of the King's beast handed to him as his share was smoking 
fragrantly upon a golden plate. He glanced around from the 
merry faces of the lawless men to the dishes and plates from 
which they were eating. All were of gold and very familiar. 

His rolling eye encountered that of Little John's, coolly 
helping himself to a second serve. "You rascal! you rogue!" 
spluttered Monceux. "You scum of the kitchens! Where 
is my plate? You shall be shred into little pieces for this trick, 
and you also, false butcher." 

"Nay, excellence," said a gentle voice near to him, "this 
is no butcher; but rather Master Robin o' th' Hood, a good 
yeoman and right Saxon. Some call him Robin of Locksley. 
Let me fill your goblet, excellence, for you have spilled all the 

Monceux glared at the speaker, a handsome lad dressed 
gaily in page's costume. The Sheriff's frown would have 
frightened most people, but the dark-haired boy only laughed 
and tossed his head in a queerly fascinating way. The Sheriff, 
relaxing, held out his goblet, and smiled back upon the page. 

"Well done, Master Gilbert of Blois!" cried Robin, who 
sat at the Sheriff's left hand. "Now tell me how you dis 
covered me, and I will love you " 



The lad blushed furiously. "I knew you from the first, 
Robin o' th' Hood," he answered, defiantly. 

"In truth?" questioned Robin, slily, and with his own 
suspicions growing. No wonder he had seen nothing of 
Marian in Nottingham town. 

"In truth well, no," submitted the page. "Let me fill 
your tankard, friend. But very soon I did discover you. Is 
this the stag that you killed, Robin o' th' Hood?" he added, 

Robin nodded; and the Sheriff flashed another look of 
anger upon him. "Sit you beside me, Gilbert," Robin 
ordered; "I am very fain to have speech with you." 

Marian, with her woman's intuition, knew from his tone 
that she also was discovered. Yet she braved it out. "I 
will fill all the cups, Robin o' th' Hood," she said, firmly, 
with an adorable little shake of her black curls; "then will 
hear your adventures as a Nottingham butcher, which I see 
you are dying to tell to us." 

The page skipped lightly from under Robin's threatening 
hand, and the merry men laughed loud and long. "He calls 
you Robin o' th' Hood, master!" cried John Berry, roaring 
like a bull. For some reason this nick-name tickled him 
mightily. He kept repeating it in all kinds of tones, and those 
about him began to laugh also. 

'Tis a very excellent name," said Robin, a little vexed. 
"A merry name, a man's name, and a name to my heart! 
I do adopt it from this day; for is not Robin Fitzooth 
of Locksley dead? My lord the Sheriff can tell you that 
he is, for he has burned him. Laugh at it, or like it, 



friends, which you will. But pledge me in it, for I have 
paid the reckoning." 

Little John, Stuteley, and Much rose to their feet together 
in their hurry to be first. The others were not slow in fol 
lowing them. 

"Long life to you and happiness, Robin o' th' Hood! 
Here's fortune's best and confusion to all your enemies! 
Huzza, Robin o' th' Hood!" 

The darkening woods echoed it back to them. "Robin o' 
th' Hood ! Robin Hood !" 

"You will have to be christened, gossip," said Little John, 
with an air of importance; "and surely I know the man who 
will be sponsor. But you spoke just now of a reckoning; and 
I do see that our guest is become fidgety. Shall I tot up the 
bill for him?" 

"Do so, friend." 

The Sheriff appeared uneasy at this. "I have not my 
purse with me," he began, apologetically. 

"How did you purpose paying me for my beasts?" asked 

"Why that is I have, of course, a small sum about 


"What is that sum, gossip?" questioned Little John, very 

1 'Tis no more than forty pieces of gold," said Monceux, 
recollecting that he had named this amount to Robin. 
"Is that all?" 

"I have not another penny -piece, good Master Hood," re 
plied the Sheriff. 



"If that is true, then you shall pay no more than ten 
pieces of gold for your entertainment, excellence," decreed 
Robin. "Speak I soothly, men of the greenwood?" 

"The Sheriff should swear by his patron saint that he will 
never more molest us," said one of the company, wisely; and 
this addition was carried unanimously. 

"So be it, then," cried Little John, approaching Monceux. 
" Now, sw r ear by your life and your patron saint 

"I will swear it by St. George, who is patron of us all," 
cried the tat Sheriff, vigorously ; and he swore that never again 
would he disturb or distress them in Sherwood. 

"Let me catch anyone of you out of it!" thought he to 

Then he paid them ten pieces of gold ; and having done this, 
rose up to go. 

It was already full dusk. " Gossip," observed Little John, 
reprovingly, "you did not hand me your wallet, but took out 
instead the ten golden pieces. Let me see for myself that 
thirty remain. Mayhap some evil person has robbed you 

"Nay I do not think that," said the Sheriff, quickly; "I 
take great care of all my belongings " 

"Yet you may have been despoiled," persisted Little John; 
" permit me to satisfy myself and this company that you have 
had honorable treatment in these happy woods." 

With a groan Monceux yielded his wallet, and Stuteley 
counted out the money in it with a loud voice; otherwise the 
company was silent. "There is another wallet, gossip," said 
the inexorable Little John, pointing towards the Sheriff's belt. 



In all they counted out one hundred gold pieces. "We 
must add another 'nought' to the foot of our bill, excellence," 
said Robin, gravely. "Be of good heart; what is 'nought' 
but nothing? Ten pounds and a 'nought' added to it is a 
most reasonable account for such royal fare. Take then this 
money which you first gave me; we will keep the wallets." 

' 'Tis monstrous! 'Tis an enormity," bellowed Monceux, 
flying out. "Already you have stolen my plate, and now 
would strip me utterly! 'Tis rank villainy, and I promise 
you all " 

"You have promised enough to-night, Sheriff," retorted 
Robin: "away with him, Stuteley, and go you, too, Little 
John. Take our guest through the secret path so far as the 
roadway by Nottingham gate. There he may find his archers 
waiting for him. Be speedy." 

They nodded and grasped the struggling Sheriff by either 
arm. His eyes were speedily bandaged by little Gilbert, and 
he made an undignified exit. Whilst the rest busied them 
selves removing the remains of the feast, Robin spoke quietly 
with the page. 

"Since Little John has happily returned to us, Master 
Gilbert," said Robin, " 'tis clear that he will want his quarters 
again. So I must move you." 

"It matters not, Robin." 

"You are over young to consort with such wild company, 
Gilbert," Robin continued; "and so I will take you to a safe 
asylum, unless, of course, you would sooner return into Not 

"I have now no real home in Nottingham," said Marian, 



frankly. "My father has gone to London to find us a home 
there. He has been offered a post in the King's household. 
So soon as he had departed they sent for me to attend at the 
Sheriff's castle, saying I was to become maid to the demoiselle 
Marie. This I would not; and so escaped in the early dawn 
of the day " 

"I have a friend at Gamewell," said Robin, diffidently. 
" In sooth, it is mine own uncle, and he surely would not refuse 
me in this. Will you go with me, Gilbert, at once? Soon it 
will be night indeed." 

"I'll go anywhere with you, Robin," answered the little 

Yet Robin would not affect to recognize Marian, though 
his heart was thumping in his body. He led her silently, 
hastily, through the strange passages towards Gamewell, 
thinking how he should bring a welcome for the maid. 

"You are not talkative, friend Robin," murmured his 
companion once. 

"My heart is too full for speech, Gilbert," said Robin, 
softly then; and this answer seemed to satisfy Master Gilbert 
of Blois. Under the night he smiled happily to himself. 

"Is this your bad hand, Robin?" he asked, presently, "the 
one that I did wound? Poor fingers! I am sorry now. Can 
you forgive me, Robin?" 



WHEN they had reached the little hut near by the 
pleasance, Robin bade her stay. "I now must play 
Yellow Lady," said he, lightly. "She is the spirit 
of this grove, and under her guise I can venture near to the 
house. Lend me your cloak the color will not matter on so 
dark a night." 

"I will not be left alone here," said Marian at this, with 
great decision. "Not for all the Montfichets in Christendom. 
I'll go with you." 

They crossed the pleasance side by side. Lights burned 
within Gamewell to guide them. 

"I am not afraid, Robin," announced Master Gilbert of 
Blois, courageously. "You know I am no coward." 

"Take my hand then," said Robin; "I like to feel that 
you are with me." 

"Yet you have but known me a day," said Marian, trying 
to peep at him. Her tone was questioning and full of pretty 

He had a mind then to take her in his arms, but again fore- 
bore. "Be silent now," whispered he; "I must proclaim 
myself. I have scarce knowledge of the servants here, my 
chief friend being old Warrenton, and he is in the greenwood." 

"Let us go back there," suggested his companion; "I am 
willing to risk the wild beasts and the Sheriff's wrath." 


" 'Tis no place for you," said Robin. "Here you will be 
both safe and comfortable.'* 

"I do not like the shape of this house," argued Marian. 
"I do not feel that I will be happy in it." 

"It is a home worthy to be your sister's, let alone yours, 
Master Gilbert. Now be done with your grumbling, for here 
you shall stay until your father's return." 

At this she made a grimace, but obeyed him meekly, not 
withstanding. As they drew near to the courtyard, Robin 
bade her follow him cautiously until they had made a full 
circle of it, and crept round to the front of the hall. 

By good fortune the bridge was down. Old Gamewell 
had no fear of the world, it would seem. They might pretend 
now that they had crossed to the hall from the road. Robin 
wound his horn suddenly and confidently. 

The dogs within Gamewell began to bark and growl, and 
presently they heard sounds of approach. In a moment more 
the doors were opened and they saw a servant armed with a 
lanthorn and a stick. 

"I would have audience with Master Montfichet," said 
Robin, in a bold voice. "Pray take me to him at once." 

"Do you come from Nottingham?" asked the man, civilly. 

"I left there this day," replied Robin. 

"Follow me," said the servant, briefly. He waited until 
they were safely inside; then closed the doors carefully. He 
led them across the court to the inner doors. 

Here another fellow was in waiting, also carrying a light. 
"These are travellers from Nottingham, desiring audience of 
Master Gamewell," observed the first servant. 



"Your names, gentles?" asked the second. 

"I am Robin o' th' Hood, and this is Master Gilbert of 
Blois," said Robin, at once. 

They were escorted into the great hall, and there, sat be 
side the open hearth, was old Squire George. He made a 
pathetic figure. Robin felt his heart go out to him. 

Yet even when he had satisfied himself in a single glance 
as to the identity of one of the late-coming guests, Montfichet 
gave no sign. His was a strange nature, and he could not for 
give Robin his innocent deceit. 

"Sir," said Robin, respectfully, "I do feel shame in coming 
before you without waiting for your word of welcome. My 
errand must be my excuse." 

"Tis Robin Fitzooth!" said old Montfichet, then. "I 
was told that you had been killed long since." 

"Robin Fitzooth is truly dead, sir. Behold in his place 
Robin o' th' Hood. I come to ask a service at your hands for 
the memory of this dead man, and in redemption of your 
promise given to him once in Nottingham." 

"Ask it, friend." 

The Squire's tones were kinder. Looking at him, Robin 
saw that he had aged. There were no longer signs of that 
fastidious attention to his apparel which had characterized 
Montfichet of Gamewell. 

"There is, sir, a maid who, losing her father on a journey 
to London, hath had great trouble put upon her by the Sheriff. 
Monceux would persecute her, in short; and she has flown from 
the city. Now, I would ask an asylum for her here." 

"She shall be made welcome and given full freedom of 



Gamewell," answered Montfichet, rising. "I shall rejoice to 
see her here, in sooth, for my days lack company. When will 
you bring her to me, Master Robin o' th' Hood, and pray what 
makes you wear so strange a name?" 

He spoke quite in his old manner, and half smiled at them. 
He glanced toward Master Gilbert of Blois. "Is this your 
little esquire, young Stuteley?" asked he, lifting his brows. 
"Truly he has grown out of all memory." 

Robin felt himself to be in an awkward fix. His eyes 
glanced from one to the other. Marian, at last, took pity on 
his distress. " Good my lord," said she, with that pretty shake 
of her dark curls, "I am the maid for whom Master Robin 
pleads so earnestly. I am Marian Fitzwalter out of her petti 
coats and into a boy's clothes. I had no other way of flying 
from Nottingham, so behold me for the nonce as Gilbert of 

The Squire listened, and slowly his face relaxed. Any 
thing spirited or daring always appealed to him strongly. 
"You are a pretty page, I swear, Master Gilbert! Sure it will 
be hard for you to make fairer maid than man. Welcome 
either way to Gamewell. I'll keep you safe from Monceux; 
I have no love for him in any case. You have fasted to-day, 
no doubt; I'll have supper brought us here." 

"We have already supped, sir," said Robin, relieved to 
find this easy way out of a difficult business. He had the hope 
that Marian would in some way bring about a reconciliation 
between him and the Squire. 

"We will sup a second time," said Montfichet. "Ho 
there! bring us a pasty and a flagon! Hurry, knaves, bring 



us the best of our larder. Come, Robin, sit here at my right 
hand, and you, Gilbert, by his side. And so already it has 
come to this, Robin? Will not the greenwoods seem dull to 

" Mayhap I might change them for a seat at your table on 
occasion, sir?" asked Robin. 

"To see how badly I treat my guest? Is that it? Come 
when you will, Robin o' th' Hood. Tell me now, why did 
you choose this name? Another was offered you." 

"Ask Master Gilbert here, sir he is responsible for't. 
And, honestly, I do like the name 'tis uncommon. May I 
pledge you, sir? Here's to our friendship ! May we grow old 
in it and ripe in it!" 

"I have no wish, Robin, to grow either old or ripe," said 
Marian, settling herself. "Let us eat first, and make our 
speeches afterward. Help me to the pasty before you, and do 
not chatter so much." 

Squire George nodded in approval. " Spoken like a man," 
cried he. " Robin is too full of words to-night. Ay, but I am 
right glad to see him here, for all that! Fill your glass, kins 
man, and the lady's. Nay, look not so distressed at her; up 
to the top, man, up to the top! This is no time for half- 

In the morning when Robin came blithely from his bed 
the first bed that he had known for many months he found 
the Squire waiting for him in the hall. His face was grave. 
"I must speed you, Robin," said he; "I have news that 



Monceux is abroad, and will attack your company at Barnes- 

Robin had told him all, and the Squire had neither ap 
proved nor disapproved. Working in his mind was jealous 
wonderment that Robin should prefer such a life to that which 
might have been his at Gamewell. The Squire made no show 
of this, however. 

"I will guard Mistress Fitzwalter from all harm, rely upon 
me. And go, since you must. Here is our Master Gilbert 
Gilbert no more. I should scarcely have known her." 

Marian entered from the other end of the hall. The maids 
had found her a dress, grey-blue as her eyes. She bloomed 
like an early rose on this sweet spring morning. 

" And you are going to leave me, Robin?" she said, mourn 

The Squire had disappeared. Robin, approaching, took 
her hand. He looked up from it, and saw the golden arrow 
gleaming in her hair that arrow which had so strangely 
marked the beginning of his troubles. Marian smiled, and 
her eyes invited him. 

And so these two kissed each other frankly, mouth to 

A little later Robin was speeding through the forest. His 
feet were light, and he sang softly to himself as he trod the 
springy grass. 

Suddenly a sad song broke upon his ear. 'Twas a doleful 
song, full of tears; and Robin, in consternation, stopped short. 

Along the woodland path there came towards him a min- 



strel carrying a harp and trailing a rope. "Marry, friend, but 
your harp is out of all harmony!" began Robin. 

"I do not play upon it," retorted the minstrel. 

" You sing a sad song," said Robin; " and I, who am happy, 
am put out of countenance by it. Therefore sing it not until 
I am far from you." 

"My heart overflows with sorrow," said the minstrel, 
"and so I must sing of sadness and of death." 

"Tell me your sorrow, friend," Robin begged, "and walk 
with me back upon the road. Like as not I can help you." 

"I should not speak my grief to you," the minstrel told 
him, "for you are happy." 

"One who lives in the greenwood cannot be otherwise," 
observed Robin. "Come, walk with me, and coil the rope." 

"I had brought it," said the minstrel, "so that I might 
hang myself to some old oak, and thus fittingly end the 
wretched, misfortunate life of Allan-a-Dale." 

Robin perceived that there was a story to follow. "Walk 
with me, gossip, and ease your heart in confidence," he said, 
cheerfully. " I can likely help you. To-day is my lucky day . " 

"Know then, happy stranger, that I have lost my dear, 
and through no fault of mine own," said Allan-a-Dale, as they 
walked together. "A wealthy baron has taken my love from 
me, and will marry her this very day; so I have come into these 
quiet woods that I may kill myself, for never can I live with 
out my Fennel." 

"Is that her name? 'Tis very quaint." 

'Tis a fitting name, gossip. Fennel means * Worthy of 
all praise,' and she is the most worthy of all maids." 



"Perchance you do not know many maids, friend," said 
Robin. "Tell me, is she dark-haired, and are her eyes sweet 
as violets?" 

"In sooth, her eyes are blue enough, gossip," said Allan; 
"but her hair is like finespun gold. And she has a little 
straight nose, and such a tender smile. Marry, when I think 
upon her many perfections my heart doth leap, to sink again 
when I mind me that I have lost her." 

"And why have you lost her, Allan-a-Dale?" 

"Look you, 'tis this way. The Normans overrun us, and 
are in such favor that none may say them nay. This baron 
coveted the land wherein my love dwells; so her brother, who 
was lord of it, was one day found still and stark killed whilst 
hunting, folks say. Thus the maid became heir-at-law, and 
the baron woed her, thrusting me aside." 

"Nay, but surely " began Robin. 

" Hear me out, gossip," Allan said. "You think I am light 
overborne, no doubt; but never should this Norman dog have 
triumphed had it been man to man. But who can deal with 
a snake in th' grass? The wretch has poisoned my Fennel 
against me, and 'tis she who has cast me into despair, while 
she is to be wedded with mine enemy." 

"Does she love you, Allan?" 

"Once she loved me right well. Here is the little ring 
which she gave me when we were betrothed." 

"Enough," said Robin, "this wedding shall not be. Can 
you keep your own counsel? Follow me then; and on your 
love for Fennel, see nothing of the way in which I lead you. 



He brought the minstrel into Barnesdale woods and to their 
most secret haunt. Then he summoned the greenwood men 
and told them first of the Sheriff's plans and then gave out the 
grievous story of Allan-a Dale. 

"Where is this marriage to be held?" asked Little John. 

"In Plympton church," sighed the minstrel. 

"Then to Plympton we will go, by my beard!" cried the 
giant, "and Monceux may meanwhile scour Barnesdale for 
us in vain! Thus virtue is plainly its own reward." 

"Well planned, indeed, Little John. Fill quivers, friends, 
and let us go. This shall be a strange marriage-day for your 
baron, Allan if the lady be not stubborn. You must move 
her, if she be cross with you. We will do all other duties." 

They travelled through one of their many secret ways to 
wards Plympton. The sun shone high in the heavens ere they 
had come within sight of the small square church. 

Without the building they espied a guard of ten archers 
liveried in scarlet and gold. Robin bade the rest to approach 
under cover of the hedgerows. He then borrowed Allan's 
cloak and harp, and stepped out boldly towards the church. 

A few villagers were gathered about the archers; and 
Robin mingled with these, asking many quaint questions, 
and giving odd answers to any who asked in turn of him. 
Hearing the laughter and chattering, the Bishop who was to 
perform the marriage came to the church door all in his fine 
robes and looked severely forth. 

"What is the meaning of this unseemliness?" asked he, in 
well-known tones. 

Robin saw that here was my lord of Hereford again! He 



answered, modestly: "I am a harper, good my lord. Shall 
I not make a song to fit this happy day?" 

"Welcome, minstrel, if such you are," said the Bishop. 
"Music pleases me right well, and you shall sing to us." 

"I must not tune my harp nor pluck the strings in melody 
until the bride and bridegroom have come," Robin answered, 
wisely; "such a thing would bring ill-fortune on us, and on 

"You will not have long to wait," cried the Bishop, "for 
here they come. Stand on one side, worthy people." 

He busied himself in welcome of the bridegroom a grave 
old man, dressed up very fine. The bride was clothed in 
white samite, and her hair shone like the sun. Her pretty 
eyes were dark with weeping; but she walked with a proud air, 
as women will who feel that they are martyring themselves 
for their love's sake. She had but two maids with her, roguish 
girls both. One held up her mistress's gown from the ground; 
the other carried flowers in plenty. 

"Now by all the songs I have ever sung, surely never 
have marriage bells rung for so strange a pair!" cried 
Robin, boldly. He had stopped them as they were passing 
into the church. "Lady," he asked, "do you love this man? 
For if you do not then you are on your way to commit 

" Stand aside, fool," cried the bridegroom, wrathfully. 

"Do you love this man?" persisted Robin. "Speak now 
or never. I am a minstrel, and I know maids' hearts. Many 
songs have I made in their honor, and never have I found 
worse things in them than pride or vanity." 

[221 ] 


"I give my hand to him, minstrel, and that is enough," 
the girl answered at last. She made a movement towards the 

"And Allan?" whispered Robin, looking straight into her 

At this she gave a little gasp of fear and love, then glanced 
irresolutely towards the shrivelled baron. "I will not marry 
you!" she cried, suddenly. 

Robin laughed and, dropping the harp, clapped his horn 
to his lips. Even as the archers sprang upon him, the green 
wood men appeared. 

"Mercy me!" called out the Bishop, seeking to escape, 
" here are those rascal fellows who did maltreat me so in Sher 

The archers were prisoners everyone, and the baron too, 
ere my lord of Hereford had done exclaiming. Stuteley and 
Much pushed Allan-a-Dale forward. "This is the man, good 
my lord, to whom you shall marry the maid," cried Robin, 
flourishing his bow, "if she is willing." 

"Will you marry me, dear heart?" pleaded Allan-a-Dale. 
" I am your true love, and the stories they told to you were all 

"Own to it, baron!" roared Little John, shaking up the 
unfortunate old man. "Tell her that you did lie in your 
straggling beard when you said that Allan was untrue." 

"Ay, ay, I spoke falsely; ay, I own to it. Have done 
with me, villain." 

"Spare him, Little John, for the nonce. Now, my lord, 
marry them for us, for I am ready to sing you my song." 


"They must be called in church three times by their names; 
such is the law," the Bishop protested. 

Robin impatiently plucked the Bishop's loose gown from 
off his back and threw it over Little John's shoulders. The 
big fellow thrust himself firmly into it and stood with arms 
akimbo. "By the faith o' my body," cried Robin, "this cloth 
makes you a man!" 

Little John went to the church door, and all began to laugh 
consumedly at him. Even the maid Fennel forgot her vexa 
tions. Seeing that she smiled, Allan opened his arms to her, 
and she found her way into them. 

Little John called their names seven times, in case three 
should not be enough. Then Robin turned to the Bishop and 
swore that he should marry these two forthwith. The gown 
was given back to him, and my lord of Hereford commenced 
the service. He thought it more polite to obey, remembering 
his last experience with this madcap outlaw. 

"Who gives this maid in marriage?" asked the Bishop, in 
due season. 

"I do," said Robin, "I give her heartily to my good friend, 
Allan-a-Dale, and he who takes her from him shall buy her 



THEY betook themselves to Barnesdale after the wed 
ding, leaving my lord of Hereford gownless and fuming 
in the organ-loft of the little church at Ply mp ton. His 
guard was variously disposed about the sacred edifice: two 
of the bowmen being locked up in the tiny crypt; three in the 
belfry, "to ring us a wedding peal," as Robin said, and the 
others in the vestry or under the choir seats in the chancel. 
The old baron had been forced to climb a high tree, and had 
been left in the branches of it feebly railing at them. 

Then they all came back into Barnesdale, there to make 
a proper wedding-feast, after which Allan carried off his bride 
and her maids to his own home in the north, promising stoutly 
to return to them in due season. 

The days came and went, and Monceux began to hope 
fondly that the outlaws had gone out of Sherwood. On the 
third morning after Allan's marriage the Bishop of Hereford 
came bursting into Nottingham with the old baron and the 
humiliated guard. The Sheriff's hopes were shattered under 
the furious indignation of the baron and my lord of Hereford. 

It appeared that they had been released from their various 
positions of confinement during the evening of the marriage- 
day, and had forthwith hurried to the baron's castle. Thence 
they had set out for Allan's home in the east of the county, 
near to Southwell, a pretty place. 

Arrived there, they had demanded reparation and the maid 


Fennel, and in order to be able to declare the marriage false, 
the Bishop had sent in a petition to the Pope whereto Mistress 
Fennel was led to place her hand in writing. Allan's answer 
was to tear the petition into little pieces and fling it at the feet 
of the messenger who had brought it. 

Whereupon the Bishop had withdrawn and the baron had 
commenced an attack upon the place. After an hour or so of 
vain storming, Allan, at the head of a small band of retainers, 
had issued forth and mightily discomfited the baron and his 
men, beating them heartily out of the neighborhood of South 

These matters, instigated and brought about by one Master 
Robin o' th' Hood, cried aloud for summary vengeance. 

The Sheriff doubled and trebled the reward offered for his 
head, mentioning him above all others who were known to aid 
and abet him. Little John ranked next in point of infamous 
merit in the Sheriff's reckoning, for Monceux remembered his 
golden plate. 

The people of Nottingham, hearing continually of this 
pother, fell a-chattering between themselves, and ere a week 
was out Monceux's reward of a hundred golden pieces for the 
head of Robin Hood was the one theme of conversation in the 

No one identified him with Robin of Locksley that brave 
misguided youth being so entirely dead to their minds and 
he was variously named as Hood, Robin Hood, Captain Hood, 
and Master Robin. 

A travelling tinker came at length upon the talk of the 
town. He had been sitting on the bench without the "Sign 



of the Sixteen Does," dozing and drinking, and at last seeking 
to do both at once. 

Mine host stood near by, discussing the eternal Robin. 

"Folk do say that Master Monceux has sent into Lincoln 
for more men-at-arms and horses, and that when he has these 
to hand he will soon scourge Captain Hood from our forest.'* 

"Of whom speak you?" asked the tinker, suddenly waking 

"Of this Robin of the Greenwood," said the innkeeper, 
"but you will never earn the Sheriff's hundred pieces!" 

Then the tinker arose upon his dignity, and eyed the inn 
keeper reproachfully. 

"And why will I not earn the hundred pieces, gossip?" said 
he, with a deadly calm in his manner. 

"Where our Sheriff has failed, and a Bishop also, it is not 
likely that a mere tinker will succeed," mine host answered. 
"Pay me for your ale, gossip, and go on your way." 

The tinker approached and laid a heavy hand upon the 
innkeeper's fat shoulder. "Friend," he said, impressively, 
"I am one not noted either for dullness or lack of courage. I 
do perpend that to earn these pieces of which you speak one 
must perform some worthy business. Tell it to me, and you 
and Nottingham shall see then what Middle the Tinker thinks 
on it." 

At this a great clacking began, so that Master Middle only 
came to the gist of it in an hour. He valiantly proclaimed his 
intention, so soon as he did understand, of taking Robin Hood 
single-handed. "Why send into Lincoln and the shires when 
Middle the Tinker will do this business for you, gossips? I 


will go into your Sherwood this very day. Give me the war 
rant, and I'll read it to Robin to purpose, I promise you!" 

They pushed him, laughing and jesting between them 
selves, towards Nottingham Castle, and there thrust him into 
the hall. 

"Here is a champion come to take your pieces, Master 
Monceux," someone called out. "Here is Middle, the pot- 
valiant," cried another. 

Master Middle asked for the warrant, and obtained it. 
Then he sallied forth, accompanied by the customers from the 
"Sign of the Sixteen Does" as far as the gates of the city. 
There he made them a long speech and left them. 

They watched him making determinedly along the white 
road towards Barnesdale; then returned to their tankards 
and their talk. 

Master Middle reached Gamewell without mishap; and 
the brisk air having revived him much, he gradually came into 
a placid frame of mind. 

In this happy condition he encountered presently a comely 
youth, with a little beard and a friendly tongue. 

"Give you good-den, gossip," cried the youth. "I hear 
there is sad news abroad. I fear all is not well with the 

"Since I live in Banbury, good friend," the tinker replied, 
"I cannot speak for the world. But Banbury is always willing 
to listen, and learn." 

"Harkee, then this is the news I have heard: that in 
Nottingham town they have put two tinkers in the stocks for 
drinking too much ale and beer!" 



"If that is all," said Middle, contemptuously, "your news 
is not worth a groat; while as for drinking good ale, 'tis not 
you who would willingly lose your part of it." 

"By my faith, gossip, you are right!" laughed the youth. 
"But now give me your news, since mine is worth so little. 
You who go from town to town, must come by many strange 

"All that I have heard," the tinker said, thinking of the 
Sheriff's pieces, "is very good. I am in search of an outlaw 
whom men call Robin Hood. In my wallet I have a warrant 
to take him wherever I can; and if you can tell me where he 
is I will make a man of you, friend." 

"Let me see the warrant," said Robin, for 'twas he, "and 
if I find it to be right I will take you to him this very day." 

"That I will not do," cried Middle, readily, "I will trust 
no man with my warrant; and if you will not help me, gossip, 
why, pass on and good riddance to you." 

He began to stride along the road again, and until Robin 
had called him thrice would not turn about. "If you will come 
with me to a certain inn on Watling Street, good friend," called 
Robin, encouragingly, "I'll e'en show you Robin o' th' Hood!" 

At this, Middle turned his head, and then came back to 
Robin. "Lead the way, gossip," said he, at length. "I'll 
walk behind you. I have my stick." 

Robin made no reply, but started at a good pace. He led 
the tinker through the forest by many devious ways until 
they had arrived at a little inn on Watling Street. It was 
styled the "Falcon," and mine host came willingly to serve 
these guests. 



The tinker asked for ale, Robin for wine. They sat at 
talk for near an hour, Robin explaining much about this 
Robin o' th' Hood. The tinker drank his ale and listened; 
then pronounced his plan for taking the outlaw. This made 
a lengthy history, and was so dry withal that Master Middle 
must needs fill and empty his tankard many times. 

In the end he fell asleep. Robin deftly opened his pouch 
then, took out the warrant, read it, and put it into his own 
wallet. He called mine host, and, telling him that the tinker 
would pay the reckoning so soon as he awoke, Robin left the 
"Falcon" and Master Middle together. 

Having leisure for the whimsey, Robin bethought him to 
stay awhile and see what Middle might do, for in a way he had 
taken Robin's fancy. 

So Robin hid and waited events. 

Presently the tinker awoke and called for the landlord. 
"Gossip," said he to mine host, "I have a grave charge to 
lay upon you. In this house, whilst I did rest in the thought 
that you were an honest man and one loving the King, my 
pouch has been opened and many matters of importance taken 
from it. I had in it, item, a warrant, granted under the hand 
and seal of my lord the Sheriff of Nottingham, authorizing the 
arrest of a notorious rascal, one Robin Hood of Barnesdale. 
Item, a crust of bread. Item, six single keys, useful withal. 
Item, twelve silver pennies, the which I have earned this week 
in fair labor " 

"I wonder to hear you speak so of Robin Hood, friend," 
answered the landlord. "Was he not with you just now? 
And did he not clink glasses with you in all amity?" 

[ 229 ] 


"Was Robin o' th' Hood that little bag of bones?" cried 
Middle, in great vexation. " God-a-mercy, but now I see it 
all. He has taken my warrant and my pennies! Let me go 
after him, gossip; be sure that I will bring him back right 

"There is first the reckoning to be paid, good friend," said 
the landlord. 

"Why, I would pay you with all pleasure, had I the 
means," the tinker replied. "At this moment I have but 
my stick and my bag of tools. I will leave them with you 
as hostages." 

"Give me your leathern coat as well," said mine host, 
sharply; "the hammer and tools are as naught to me." 

"It would seem that I am fallen from one thief to another," 
snapped Middle. "If you will walk with me to the green I'll 
give you such a crack as shall drive some honesty into your 
thick skull." 

'You are wasting your breath and my leisure," the other 
retorted, contemptuously. " Get you gone after your quarry." 

Middle thought this to be good advice, and he strode forth 
from the "Falcon" in a black mood. 

Ere he had gone half a mile upon the road he perceived 
Robin demurely walking under the trees a little in front of 
him. "Ho there! you villain!" shouted Middle. "Stay your 
steps. I am most desperately in need of you this day!" 

Robin turned about with a surprised face. "Well met 
again, tinker," cried he. "Have you found Robin Hood?" 

"Marry, that have I!" roared Middle, plunging at him. 

Robin had his sword at his side and tried to draw it; but 


the tinker was too speedy for him. Middle laid on his blows 
with so much vigor that for a while he had Robin at his mercy. 

The greenwood rang with the noise of the fight, for now 
Robin had plucked out his sword. 'Twas steel against oak; 
brute force matched against skill. Indignation gave Middle 
the advantage, and he fought with such fury that Robin's 
sides began to ache. 

"Hold your hand, tinker," called Robin, at last. "I 
cry a boon of you." 

"I would rather hang you upon this tree ere granting it 
to you," said Middle, commencing afresh. 

But Robin had had time to blow his horn in urgent sum 
mons of Stuteley arid Little John. 

In a brief space they appeared, with most of the green 
wood men at their heels, and Master Middle was seized and 
disarmed rudely enough. 

"This rascal tinker had made my bones quite sore," said 
Robin, ruefully. 

"Is that your trouble?" said Little John. "Let me dis 
cover now if I may not do the like for him." 

"Not so, Little John," Robin said then. "This was my 
own quarrel, and I deserved all that this rogue has bestowed 
on me. He had a warrant for my arrest, which I have stolen 
from him." 

"With twelve silver pennies, a crust of bread, and six little 
keys," remarked Middle, with emphasis. 

"Here are the keys and the crust, gossip," answered Robin, 
smilingly. "And here the pennies, turned by me into gold. 
Here also, if you will, is my hand." 



"I take it heartily, with the pence!" cried Middle, seizing 
the slim, frank hand of the outlaw. "By my leathern coat, 
by my pots and pans, I swear I like you, friend Hood, and will 
serve you and your men honestly! Do you want a tinker? 
Nay; but I'll swear you do who else can mend and grind your 
swords and patch your pannikins? Will you take me, little 
man, who can fight so well, and who knows how to play a bold 

" Marry, I will take you, tinker if the rest be willing, and 
you will swear the oath. But it rests not with me, for this is 
a band of freemen, without a leader." 

"Not so, Robin," cried Little John, glancing up from close 
perusal of the Sheriff's warrant. "We have a leader, and you 
are the man! Master Monceux of Nottingham has ordained 
it. Herein you are described as Robin o' th' Hood, leader and 
captain of that band of evil robbers infesting Barnesdale and 
our forest of Sherwood! The Bishop of Hereford has put his 
blessing on the Sheriff's choice by excommunicating you. 
Shall we not accept Monceux's word for it, comrades all?" 
he added turning round. " He has named a leader for us whom 
we can trust." 

It was carried with acclamation, and Robin found himself 
leader of the greenwood men willy-nilly, for good and all. 
Warrenton was hugely delighted; and the tinker seemed 
pleased that he had helped in bringing about so excellent an 
arrangement. Master Middle swore the oath of allegiance 
in good set terms, and they all repaired to Barnesdale to call 
a full council and ratify their choice of captain. 


WITHIN the next few days came Allan-a-Dale into 
Barnesdale with his lady and her two maids. Allan 
had the story to tell of the Bishop's encounter with 
him and the baron's onslaught upon his house in Southwell. 
Allan explained that, although he had triumphed over his 
enemies for the present, tidings had been brought to him that 
the Bishop was plotting fresh mischief against them at South 
well, and had already excommunicated both Allan-a-Dale and 
his pretty wife. 

"In that case you must take up your life with us," said 
Robin. "The greenwood is the abode of liberty and justice; 
'tis our commonwealth, in truth, and a happy enough place to 
live in even in winter-time. We will find you a cave." 

"There's Fennel," explained Allan, dubiously; "I do not 
think that she will like to live in a cave." 

This presented a difficulty. So Allan went over to where 
Fennel stood waiting with her maids, and explained things 
to her. "So long as I am with you, dear heart," answered 
Fennel, laughing, "I do not care if I live under a tree or in a 
house. Do that which you think best for us." 

Therefore, they came into the greenwood, and were found 
a cave opening from one of the larger passages a dry and ex 
cellent home in these long summer months. 

In the meantime little Midge had fallen sick, and Much 
the Miller wept loudly over him as he lay, pale and languid, 



on a rude couch of dry leaves. All the company sorrowed over 
this small Lincoln fellow, for he had been a merry companion, 
and Robin himself sought to bring him back to health with 
such simple remedies as he knew. 

"Captain," said Much, with a woebegone countenance, 
' 'tis all useless, our doctoring I am about to lose the best 
friend that ever I have known. Can you get a priest to pray 
beside Midge's bed?" 

"I did know of a right worthy priest," Robin answered, 
sorrowfully, "but he has gone from these parts. He would 
have been just the one to cheer us all." 

"I have heard tell of a jovial fellow who has but lately 
come to our parish," said Middle the Tinker. "You must 
know, comrades, that I was born near to Fountain's Abbey, 
in York, and that once a year at least I visit my old mother 
there. Now, I promise you, that never such a frolicsome 
priest did you know as this one who has come to our priory. 
He can bend a bow with any man, and sing you a good song." 

"I would dearly love such a man to minister to me," 
pleaded poor Midge. "I believe on my soul that he could cast 
out the fever from my bones. Bring him to me, Much, as 
you love me." 

This settled matters forthwith. "I will go to the world's 
end for you, if there be need," sobbed the honest miller. 
"Give me leave, captain, to go in search of this worthy friar." 

"I will go with you, Much, and Little John shall come 
also," began Robin; but now a fresh difficulty arose. All 
of them wished to go wherever Robin went; he was their 
captain, they said, and so must be protected. 



In the end it was arranged that Stuteley should remain 
with two score of men in Barnesdale, to guard their caves and 
keep the Sheriff at bay if occasion arose. (In truth, however, 
Master Monceux had full hands just now with affairs of state, 
although the greenwood men did not know of this. The King 
was grievously ill; and Monceux had gone to London, with the 
Bishop of Hereford and many of the neighboring barons, under 
Royal command.) 

Robin asked Mistress Fennel to give the sick man such 
nursing as she would to Allan himself; and she sweetly prom 
ised that Midge should suffer in no way by his captain's ab 
sence. Then Robin, with the rest of the band fifteen in all 
set off for York. 

It so happened that Master Simeon Carfax was departing 
from the old town at nigh the same moment, with his face set 
nodding homewards. 

Warrenton, Little John, Much the Miller, and Master 
Middle were of Robin's company. Also there was John Berry, 
the forester, and that one called Hal, who had been so much 
at the right hand of poor Will o' th' Green in other days. 

This little company travelled speedily, and within three 
days they had brought themselves over the borders into the 
county of York. 

Another two days brought them within a league of Foun 
tain's Abbey or Dale, as some folk call it. 

As they neared the Abbey Robin walked on in front of the 
rest and held his bow free in his hand. 

Presently he came to a stream, and heard sounds of a jovial 
song floating towards him. He hid under a bush and watched 



alertly. At length, approaching the far bank, Robin espied 
a knight, clad in chain armor and very merry. 

He sang, in a lusty voice, a hearty woodland song. " Now 
by my bones!" thought Robin, puzzled, "but I have heard this 
song before." 

He peeped forth again, and saw that the knight filled up 
the spaces of his song with bites from a great pasty which he 
held in his hand. His face was turned from Robin. 

Robin called out suddenly upon him, fitting an arrow to 
his bow as he did so. "I pray you, Sir Knight, to carry me 
across this stream," said Robin, covering the stranger with his 

"Put down your bow, forester," shouted the knight, "and 
I will safely carry you across the brook. 'Tis our duty in life 
to help each other, and I do see that you are a man worthy of 
some attention." 

His voice troubled Robin as his song had done; but whilst 
he was searching his memory to fit a name to this courteous 
knight the latter had waded across to him. "Jump upon my 
back, forester, and I'll bring you to shore." He spoke through 
the bars of his closed visor. 

Robin had cast down his bow; and now, without thinking, 
jumped upon the knight's shoulders. The knight carried him 
safely over the brook. 

"Now, gossip, you shall carry me over this stream," said 
the knight, serenely; "one good turn deserves another, as 
you know." 

"Nay, but I shall wet my feet," Robin commenced. 

"No more than I have wetted mine," retorted the other. 



"Besides, yonder is your bow, and small use are your arrows 
without it." 

Robin perceived then that he had been too hasty. He 
considered for a moment. "Leave your sword behind as I 
do my bow, Sir Knight," he said, presently, "and I will carry 
you across the river." 

The knight laughed and agreed, and Robin took him upon 
his back. It was all that Robin could do to bring himself and 
his load to the bank; but at last he managed it. He set the 
knight down, then seized his bow. "Now, friend, yonder is 
your sword. I'll e'en crave that you shall carry me on your 
shoulders once more!" 

The knight eyed Robin solemnly. : 'Tis written in the 
Scriptures, forester, that we should not be weary in well 
doing," he observed, "so for this reason I will do your behest. 
Get upon my back once more." 

This time Robin carried his bow and smiled within him 
self. He found, however, that the knight was holding him 
very lightly. Just as he had opened his mouth in expostula 
tion, the knight suddenly released his hold of Robin's legs, and 
shook him into the running water. Then, laughing heartily, 
he regained the other bank and his broadsword. 

Robin, with wet skin and spoiled bow, struggled back to 
the bank wherefrom he had first started out. He began to 
revile the knight in set terms, and challenged him to fight. 

; 'Tis only fair, forester, that we should go half-way to each 
other," answered the knight, unconcernedly, "if so be we are 
able to fight. I will come to the middle of the stream, and if 
I do not find you there, I shall know you to be afraid." 



Robin waded out to him with drawn sword; and there in 
the center of the stream they fought together valiantly for 
near a quarter of an hour. " I crave a boon of you, Sir Knight," 
cried Robin, then feeling himself in danger of being drowned. 

" 'Tis yours, forester," spluttered the knight, still holding 
fast to his manner of courtesy. 

Forthwith Robin found his horn, and blew it somehow, all 
wet as it was. 

"I too claim a boon," cried the knight. 

" 'Tis yours," answered Robin, hearing joyfully the ap 
proach of his men. 

The knight produced a whistle and caused a shrill note to 
issue forth from it. Even as Warrenton and the rest came 
leaping to Robin's rescue on one hand, twenty and five great 
dogs sprang out of the bushes on the opposite bank. 

Warrenton and his fellows immediately sped a volley of 
arrows at the yelping beasts; but, jumping and leaping they 
caught the arrows in their mouths, even as they flew! 

"I never have seen the like of this in my days!" cried Little 
John, amazed. " 'Tis rank sorcery and witchcraft." 

"Take off your dogs, friar," cried Middle, who was the 
least surprised of them all, "else ill will befall both them and 


"He calls you friar," said Robin, astounded; "are you not 
a knight, in sooth?" 

"I am but a poor anchorite, a curtal friar," replied the 
other, pushing out for his side of the river. "By name Friar 
Tuck of Fountain's Dale. Are these your men, forester?" 

"This is Robin Hood, come in all amity and peace from 



Nottingham to bring you to a sick-bedside," the tinker told 
him. ; 'Tis a sorry welcome that you accord to him!" 

"I am Robin Fitzooth," said Robin, having in his turn re 
gained the river-bank. "And surely your name is not Tuck, 
as you say." 

The knight then lifted his visor, and Robin gave a cry of 
joy. It was the merry face of the Clerk of Copmanhurst that 
beamed upon him from under the mailed cap. "God save 
you, dear friend, why did you not say 'twas you?" 

"To tell truth, Robin," answered the clerk, comically, 
"you scarce gave me pause to eat my pie, let alone announce 
myself. Do I see Master Hal, and my good friend Warren- 
ton? Wait until I have chained my dogs, and I will give you 
all such welcome as this place does know." 

They stayed with the worthy friar of Fountain's Dale long 
enough for them to be all refreshed and rested; then started 
upon the return journey into Barnesdale with good speed. 
Friar Tuck for so we must know him now said he would go 
with them gladly, and bring his dogs also, for a year had been 
sufficient for his liking of Fountain's Abbey. The place was 
too quiet and deadly; and although he had succeeded to these 
dumb and faithful friends, he had employed much time in the 
training of them. 

Robin bethought him of poor Midge waiting patiently their 
return, and so allowed no pause. 

They came back to Barnesdale within three days, having 
encountered and levied toll upon some rich merchants peni 
tents bound with presents for the Priory of York. 



Midge was found to be vastly recovered from his sickness, 
thanks to the nursing of Mistress Fennel and her maids. He 
welcomed the friar in his own droll way, begging to be forgiven 
by Master Tuck for not giving him reason to perform prayers 
for an outlaw's soul, and offering to be shrived, notwithstand 
ing, if the priest felt aggrieved. 

Little John, remembering his own words of many days 
afore, said : : 'Tis a pity indeed that the good friar should 
have made this grievous long journey all for naught! By 
my faith, but here is a notion for the use of him and for your 
self, Robin. Your name is not your own until Mother Church 
has put it properly upon you. So therefore let us have a 
christening, since by good fortune we may not have a burying." 

"I am the man to fix your new name upon you right 
bravely," cried Tuck, whistling to his dogs. " Come, we will 
have such a christening as these woods have ne'er dreamed of. 
Get me a basin of water and a book." 

"Nay," said Robin, laughing, "I think that you baptized 
me heartily enough in the river by Fountain's Dale! 'Twill 
be fitting, to my mind, if now we have the feast which follows 
upon all christenings. Bring out of our best, comrades, and 
let good cheer and the right wine fill our bodies. Afterward 
we can hold carnival, and the friar shall show how he can use 
the bow." 

"Ay, marry, friend," laughed the fat clerk, "and I have 
learned other things in this year beside that. You are wonder 
ing to see me so changed, doubtless, but I must tell you that 
the life at Fountain's Dale has not been an easy one. I have 
had to hold mine own against the earls and squires of the 



borders, who have sought to rob me often enough, thinking 
that every son of Mother Church must needs be wealthy. So 
I have learned to use the broadsword and quarter-staff as well 
as the bow.'* 

"Father," exclaimed Hal, "you knew how to play all these 
very prettily when you were Clerk of Copmanhurst, though 
then you chose to have folks believe that naught but holiness 
was in you." 

"A man should not boast of all there is in him," answered 
the friar. "But now, since I am found out, you know me for 
what I am." 

"I am well content with you, anyway," Robin told him. 

The worthy friar would not stay altogether with them in 
Barnesdale. He left his dogs there save three and returned 
to Copmanhurst, when the little hermitage knew him again as 
master. Each day he would come into Barnesdale, howbeit, 
to give news to Robin and hear the items that the greenwood 
men had for him. 'Twas from Friar Tuck that the outlaws 
learned much as to travellers through Sherwood ere inquiring 
of them whether they were rich, whether worthy, or whether 
they were poor and deserving of help rather than taxing. 



MASTER CARFAX had by this time arrived in Not 
tingham, all eager to marry his cold bride. He 
found, however, that this was a happiness not yet 
to be, for matters were in a grievous state in the Sheriff's house 

My lord of Hereford was very wrath with them all, and 
had sent Monceux back to his native city with much to think 
upon. The Bishop had taken the opportunity of laying for 
mal complaint at Court before the King; and his Majesty had 
told Master Monceux that when he went back to Nottingham 
it must be to keep the Royal forest free of all evil-doers. 
Otherwise a new Sheriff would be found for Nottingham, and 
that right soon. 

Henry, the King, was near to his own end, and had be 
come very irritable in consequence of his illness. His sons 
tried his scanty patience sorely with their waywardness and 
their ingratitude. So Monceux had none too pleasant a re 
ception at Court, and returned therefrom with a heavy heart. 

Simeon Carfax was therefore despatched into Sherwood to 
find the tinker, so that Middle might be whipped and put 
into the stocks for having failed; also Carfax was to secure 
Robin and the ringleaders at all hazard. To this end Master 
Simeon was given command of the Sheriff's own men-at-arms, 
and a great body of citizens from the town wards, each man 



having the promise of a large reward and freedom thenceforth 
from all taxes. 

The news soon came to Robin, and he and his men retired 
at once into the innermost parts of Barnesdale, and secured 
their caves by covering the mouths of them with barricades 
artfully concealed behind green boughs and the like. 

So Carfax and his fellows searched without avail for near 
three weeks, only occasionally having evidence of the green 
wood men by finding the feet and antlers of the King's deer 
lying here and there in the forest. The Sheriff's men laid 
many traps for Robin, but all in vain. 

Stuteley, being of venturesome mind, must needs attempt 
all manner of tricks upon this motley company of soldiers. 
He would dig a pit with Little John and Much, and hide it up 
with branches and earth, so that Master Carfax might stray 
into it and haply break his neck. 

At last Carfax bethought him of a good plot. He had nigh 
fallen into one of Will Stuteley's pits, but suddenly stayed his 
men from demolishing it. He planned instead to pretend to 
be trapped in the pit that very night; and, having hidden his 
fellows all round about, he walked out boldly at dusk with 
but three of them, and fell a-talking loudly of his schemes for 
capturing Robin Hood. 

He walked carelessly up to the hidden pit and with great 
outcry fell into it, the others with him running off then as if 
in deadly alarm. Then Master Carfax began a loud lament, 
and made such a noise that Stuteley must hear it. 

Young Will came bounding joyfully to the pit's edge, and, 
spying Carfax therein, fell into an ecstasy of delight. He 



railed at Simeon very pleasantly, and made merry at the 
other's supposed mishap. But presently Carfax blew his 
horn, and shortly Stuteley found the position reversed. After 
a desperate struggle he was overpowered and carried off, al 
though not without being seen by another of Robin's men. 
This man brought Robin the bad news within an hour of Will 
Stuteley 's capture. 

The greenwood men flung prudence to the winds and sallied 
forth. They pursued and came up with the rear-guard of the 
enemy, and a terrible battle was fought. Thirteen of Robin's 
brave fellows were wounded, five of them so grievously as to 
die soon afterward of their wounds, and as many of the Not 
tingham soldiery also were slain. 

Carfax returned to Nottingham, however this time in 
some triumph. His men had beaten back the outlaws, and 
he had secured the lieutenant of the band, a "desperate vil 
lain, next to Robin Hood himself in deeds of violence and 

So all agreed; and by dint and hard swearing soon wove 
a noose to fit Will Stuteley's thin neck. Monceux, in grave 
satisfaction, ordered that their prisoner should be hanged and 
quartered, within a week, in the streets of Nottingham, as 
a warning and example to all wrong-doers. 

The Sheriff gave a feast to all the soldiery and doubled the 
reward upon Robin's head. Until he was caught Monceux 
could but remain uneasy, for Henry of England was a man of 
his word. 

Robin was sorely grieved at the loss of Stuteley, and 
swore that he would save his little squire or die. He went, 



therefore, to Gamewell to discover from Marian precisely 
how they had arranged for the hanging of Stuteley, for she 
was able to go into Nottingham in her page's dress. 

Marian had learned it all. "First, he will be tortured to 
tell the secret of your hiding-place, dear heart," she told Robin, 
in bated breath. "Then he will suffer the full penalty, and 
will be hanged from a gallows with three other poor wretches. 
Last of all he is to be quartered, and his body flung to the 

She burst into weeping, and sobbed so grievously that 
Robin was hard put to it to keep back his own tears. "Did 
you learn who these others might be?" he asked her, to change 
her thoughts and to satisfy himself that no other friend was 
with little Will. 

"They are the three sons of a poor widow, who lives in 
the forest. They found the body of one of the deer, and, being 
very hungry, were carrying it from the forest to their little 
home. Someone, passing by, accused them of having first 
killed it, and this quarrel came to the Sheriff's ears. Master 
Carfax then affected to recognize them as being three green 
wood men; and they have been tried summarily and found 
guilty, and will be hanged together with Will." 

"I swear that this shall not be," cried Robin, in heat, 
"since no doubt I am to blame for leaving the slain deer in 
their way." 

"It was, I believe, the very stag that I did kill," said 
Marian, in a troubled voice. "They have been in prison for 
near a month; and the beast was found without part of the 
woods," said Marian. "Shall I not go and give myself up 



in their place? Since I have had this dreadful guilty thought 
in my mind I have known no moment's peace; but, coward- 
like, I do not dare to be honest with myself." 

"Be of good courage, dear maid," said Robin. "We have 
killed many of the King's deer since the day I first did meet 
with Master Gilbert of Blois. For we are hungry every day, 
prithee, and the beasts are many. Also in this season they are 
very wild and ferocious 'tis like this one was killed in a battle 
royal between itself and another stag. But to make all sure, 
we will rescue the widow's three sons with my Stuteley from 
the Sheriff's foul clutches." 

"Go not into danger, dear heart, for my sake," Marian 
pleaded, and she held him close to her as though she never 
would let him depart again. 

Robin went back to his men, and they made their plans. 
Little John was given the second place of command, and it 
was agreed that upon the morning on which Stuteley and the 
others were to be hanged the greenwood men should risk all 
by marching into Nottingham to the rescue. 

The dawn of this eventful morning broke bright and sunny. 
Robin was clothed in a gay scarlet dress and his men wore 
their mantles of Lincoln-green cloth. They were armed with 
broadswords, and each carried a full quiver of new arrows, 
fashioned for them during the past winter by the cunning hands 
of Warrenton. 

They marched boldly towards Nottingham, leaving Allan- 
a-Dale with his little dame and six of the outlaws to keep house 
for them, as it were. When they were within a mile of Not- 



tingham gates, Robin called a halt, and said: "I hold it good, 
comrades, that we stay here in hiding, and send forth someone 
to hear the news. There comes upon the road a palmer see 
you him near by the gates? Who will go forth and engage him 
in talk?" 

"I will," said Midge, at once; "for I am used to deal with 
holy men." 

So Midge went out from them, whilst they all hid them 
selves and waited. When he was close to the palmer, Midge 
said, amiably: "I pray you, old palmer, tell me if you know 
where and when these robbers are to die? Doubtless you have 
passed the very spot?" 

"That have I, indeed," answered the palmer, sadly, "and 
'tis a sorry sight to see. By the Sheriff's castle, out upon the 
roadway, they have built an angled gallows-tree to bear the 
four of them at once. They are to die at noon, after the tor 
turing is done. I could not bear the sight; and so have turned 
my back upon it." 

The palmer spoke in a muffled voice; and as his hood had 
been pulled well over his head, Midge could not see what 
manner of man he might exactly be. He carried his long stick 
with its little cross at the top; and had sandalled feet, like any 
monk. Midge noticed idly how small his feet were for a man 
of his size, but gave no second thought to the matter. 

"Who will shrive these poor fellows, then, if you have 
turned your back upon them?" asked Midge, reproachfully. 
This seemed to present itself as a new idea to the palmer. 

"Do you think, friend," he enquired, in a troubled way, 
"that I should undertake the office?" 



"By Saint Peter and Saint Mary, I do indeed," cried 
Midge, roundly. "Would you leave them to the empty 
prayers which the Sheriff's chaplain will pour coldly over 
them? Nay, in sooth, if your heart be turned to sympathy, 
surely you are the man to administer this last consolation to 
these poor fellows." 

"If it might be permitted I would dearly love to shrive 
them," said the palmer, still hesitating. "But I am only a 
poor palmer." 

"Keep close to me," Midge told him, valiantly, "and you 
shall shrive these good fellows an it become necessary. That 
I promise you." 

He returned to Robin and told him that the execution had 
been fixed to take place outside Nottingham Castle at noon. 
"We must hasten then," said Robin. "Go you first, Little 
John; and we will tread close upon your heels." 

Little John swam the moat, and sprang upon the warder 
of the city gates suddenly, whilst he was craning his neck to 
get a view of the Sheriff's procession of death. The big out 
law seized his victim from behind, and clapped his great hand 
over his mouth. Very soon the warder was prisoner in the 
round tower by the gate; and Little John had slipped himself 
into his uniform. 

Little John then lowered the bridge quietly, and passed 
the rest of them into Nottingham. Midge and the palmer 
came last of all. "Now spread yourselves about into groups 
of twos and threes," said Robin, "and have your swords ready 
when you hear my horn. Little John, prithee draw the bridge 
again, so that none may suspect us; but leave the winch loose, 



for we may have to use it hastily. Go you first, and Heaven 
speed thee." 

Will Stuteley at length came out of the castle surrounded 
by the Sheriff's guards; and behind him walked dejectedly 
the widow's three sons. Poor Will looked ghastly pale, and 
marks of the torturings showed upon his skin. His face was 
drawn and lined with anguish. 

Monceux was there, dressed out in his best; and was blow 
ing out his fat cheeks in vast self-importance. Beside the 
Sheriff was Master Carfax, lean-faced as ever. They were 
mounted on white horses; and behind them were two score of 
archers and pikemen. 

Stuteley, seeing that no help appeared at hand, asked, 
in a weak voice, that he might have words with the Sheriff. 

Monceux went up to him and bade him speak out. 

Stuteley said, in a sad tone: "Sheriff, seeing that I must 
die to-day, grant me this one boon, that I may not be hanged 
upon a gallows-tree, but rather that I die with my sword in 
my hand, fighting you and all your men to the last." 

The Sheriff laughed coarsely: "Not so, my man; you 
shall die instead a shameful death, and after you your master, 
Robin Hood, that false butcher, so soon as I have him fast." 

"That you will never do," answered Stuteley, with pro 
phecy, in his weak voice. "But unbind my hands, Sheriff, 
for your's soul's sake, and let me meet my end valiantly." 

"To the gallows with him!" roared Monceux, giving the 
sign to the executioner; and Stuteley was hustled into the rude 
cart which was to bear him under the gallows until his neck 
had been leashed. Then it would be drawn roughly away and 



the unhappy man would swing out over the tail of it into 
another world. 

Two fellows had great knives with them ready to cut him 
down, and quarter his body whilst life was in it, as the cruel 
sentence had ordained. 

"Let me, at the least, shrive this man's soul ere it be 
hurled into eternity," said the palmer, stepping forward. 

Monceux's face grew black with rage; and yet he scarcely 
liked to refuse, for fear it should injure him too much in the 
eyes of the people. "Perform the duty quickly then, Sir 
Priest," he snarled; and then rode back to Carfax. "Watch 
the palmer narrowly," he told him, "and do you secure him 
afterwards. Methinks he is some ally of these rascal outlaws; 
and, in any case, we shall do no harm in questioning him." 

The palmer had hardly begun to string his beads when 
Little John commenced to elbow a path for himself through 
the crowd. He roughly thrust the soldiers aside as if they 
had been so many children, and came up to the edge of the 
cart. "I pray you, Will, take leave of your true friend here 
before you die," cried Little John. 

The palmer had fallen back at his approach; and stood in 
some hesitancy. In a moment Monceux saw what happened. 
"Seize that man!" he shouted to his pikemen. "He is that 
villain who did rob us of our gold plate, who nearly slew Roger, 
our cook. He is of the band seize him; and he too shall 

"Not so fast, gossip," Little John answered, with an ugly 
look; "I must needs borrow my friend of you for a while." 

He had cut Stuteley's bands with two quick strokes of his 



dagger, and having wrenched a pike from out of one of the 
soldiers' hands, flung it to little Will. " Now, by my freedom, 
here's your prayer answered, comrade," cried Little John. 
"I have found you a weapon do your best with it!" 

The soldiers had recovered from their temporary surprise 
and flung themselves upon the prisoner and his would-be 
rescuer. Robin, from the back of the Sheriff's bowmen, 
sounded his horn, and instantly all became confusion and riot. 
In the melee the palmer sought to slip away unnoticed, but 
was detected by the keen eyes of Carfax. Master Simeon 
rode round with six of his fellows and caused them to seize 
the holy man, and bind him fast with leathern thongs. 

But this small success was more than outweighed by the 
reverse suffered by Monceux and his men. Taken in assault 
at the rear, they had no chance with the greenwood men. 
Robin himself had released the widow's three sons, and they 
had not been slow in arming themselves. Some of those in 
the crowd, having secret sympathy with the outlaws and hat 
ing the Sheriff heartily for many small injustices, also flung 
themselves into the fray. 

The greenwood men cleared the green square before the 
Sheriff's home by repeated rushes and desperate chargings. 
Broken heads and cut knees there were in plenty; and lucky 
the man who escaped with so little as these. Carfax won a 
place of safety for Master Monceux, and fell back slowly, with 
him the unwilling palmer, until shelter of the castle gates had 
been attained. Then the soldiers and pikemen grew very 
valiant, and shot out clouds of arrows, through the loopholes 
in the castle towers, upon townsmen and rioters alike. 



Half a score of men were killed ere this day was ended, 
amongst them being that very apprentice who had wrestled 
on the day of Nottingham Fair with little Stuteley, the tumb 
ler, for Squire o' th' Hall's purse. Robin had an arrow 
through his hand, and nigh broke the shaft in pulling it out. 

The greenwood men, well satisfied with the day's work, 
commenced an orderly retreat. Little John lowered the 
bridge for them, when they reached the city gates, and all 
fell back into Sherwood in good style. Stuteley had been 
rescued, and walked joyfully by the side of his master. Next 
to him was Little John, and near him the widow's three sons. 
They had already asked for and obtained permission to take 
up a free life in the woods of Sherwood. 

Two of the band had been killed by the murderous arrows 
of the Sheriff's fellows, and most of the outlaws bore wounds 
of some sort. Yet they were not cast down. Sorrow sat upon 
them for the loss of those two brave hearts, but for their own 
hurts they cared naught. The bodies of their comrades were 
being carried with them into the free and happy woods, and 
there should find rest. 

"Tell me, Midge," said Robin, presently, and looking 
round for him, "what did become of the palmer who was so 
wishing to be of service to our Stuteley? He seemed a likeable 
old man, and I would not that we should seem ungrateful." 

" I much fear me that Monceux's fellows did capture him, 
the same who bore off thee, Will," said Midge. "But they 
will scarcely do him hurt, being a holy man." 

"I have no trust in either of them," Robin answered, 
vexed, " and I am grievously angry with you, Midge, for keep- 


ing this news to yourself. The palmer must be recovered 
from Monceux, and at once. I will bethink me upon some 
plan to this end." 

They walked on in silence. After a while, "I ne'er thought, 
master," said Stuteley, brokenly, "that I should see these 
woods again nor meet Little John, either in quarrel or in 
friendship, nor see any of your dear faces again." 

"By my crown, which is the hardest part of me," Little 
John cried, "I swear that in future you shall meet me how you 
will, gossip. Here's my hand on it." 

Thus began the great friendship between these two, which 
was to last them all their days. Robin was glad enough of it; 
but the doubtful fate of the palmer still troubled him sorely. 
If he had known then that bitter truth which he was to learn 
very shortly he would have ridden back forthwith into Not 
tingham town, there to end this story at once. Life had, how 
ever, many years and queer twists in it yet for Robin Hood of 



THE time of Nottingham Fair had come round once more, 
and again the Sheriff would give a prize. Monceux 
determined to make the prize a good one, such as might 
tempt any archer. He hoped thus that Robin might be lured 
into Nottingham. 

He smiled to himself in grim satisfaction, and rubbed his 
hands softly together. To tell truth, he had been expecting 
Robin any moment during these last ten days, and had 
wondered why he had not come. The palmer should have 
proved a bait in himself, so the Sheriff imagined. 

But Robin only learned on the eve of the Fair the whole 
truth about that holy man. 

It was in this way. For ten nights had Robin waited at 
the try sting place for sight of Marian; and had waited in vain. 

At last doubt grew into suspicion, and suspicion into fierce 
terror. Had Marian been abducted by Monceux, and did the 
Squire fear to tell him? 

On the night before the Fair he took courage and marched 
up to the castle entrance, then wound his horn for the bridge 
to be lowered. Now, if Monceux could but have known, 
Robin would have been easy prey. 

He rushed across the bridge soon as it had fallen, clangingly, 
upon the buttresses. The same old servant met him at the 
gates, holding it open just a little way so that he might peer 
forth. Robin pulled his cloak about himself. 



"I would see Master Montfichet, and at once," he began. 

"My master is in London," replied the man, eyeing him. 

"Did he journey alone? Did not Mistress Fitzwalter go 
with him? When did they go?" 

Robin's questions came all of a rush. "My master hath 
been gone near two weeks. He went alone from here. But 
tell me who you are, clamoring so noisily with your ques 

"I am Robin Hood," said Robin, in desperation, "and 
now, for the love of Heaven, give me news of Mistress Fitz 

"She left here on the day after my lord's departure." 

"Hath left Gamewell?" Robin gasped. "How? In what 

The man sniggered. "To tell truth, excellence, she did 
leave us in strange guise. I have pondered more than ever 
upon the ways of women since the day. Mistress would have 
our maids make her a monk's gown, and I was bid to fashion 
her a staff such as these palmers carry in their hands. Then 
with sandalled feet " 

"Did she go forth from here upon the day of the rioting in 
Nottingham, when Stuteley and the others escaped?" 

"It was upon the morning of that day," the man replied; 
"and I promise you, we have not seen her since." 

Robin turned abruptly from him. Next minute he was 
running blindly under the night towards the city gates. 

The Sheriff's prize had been announced far and wide. For 
the best archer there was an Arab horse, coal-black and worth 



a bag of gold, and with the horse there would be a saddle of 
silver and fine leather. Also a silk purse, worked by the 
demoiselle Marie, containing a hundred pieces. 

There were other rewards for the quarter-staff and single 
stick, but this year there would be no tourney. 

It was a fete-day, and folk crowded into Nottingham by all 
gates. These had been lowered hospitably and were to remain 
down all day. The stages had been erected for quarter-staff. 

There was a fellow, one Nat of Nottingham, who was 
believed to be the finest player at the game for many miles 
around. Several had tried their skill with Nat, but he had 
soon knocked every man of them off the stage rudely to the 
ground. He began boasting then of his prowess, and called 
them all cowardly and the like. 

A lame beggar who had pushed himself well to the front 
of the ring about the stage came in for a share of Nat's abuse. 
This was a strange-looking fellow, with very dirty ragged 
clothes upon him, and a black patch over one eye. He wore 
a beard, pointed and untrimmed, and he listened very calmly 
to the other's noisy chattering. 

"Come up here, you dirty villain; and I'll dust your rags 
for you," cried Nat, flourishing his staff. 

"If you will use a shorter staff than this, Master Wind 
bag," said the beggar, quietly, and showing his stick, "I'll 
take all the beating you can give me." 

With scornful laughter Nat accepted this challenge. 

The beggar took off his ragged coat and limped painfully 
on to the stage. 

They fenced for an opening, both playing well. The 



The beggar dealt his foe a back-thrust so neatly, so heartily, and so swiftly that Nat 
was swept off the stage into the crowd as a fly off a table. 


beggar, for all his limp and one eye, had a pretty notion of the 
sport, but he had the queerest gait upon him; and as he hob 
bled round and round the stage under Nat's blows the people 
laughed continuously. 

Nat caught him smartly upon the right arm a sounding 
thwack. The beggar made as if to drop his staff forthright, 
and Nat lifted himself for another and crushing blow. 

But the one-eyed man recovered his guard, sprang sud 
denly on one side, and, as Nat's staff was descending vainly, 
the beggar dealt his foe a back-thrust so neatly, so heartily, 
and so swiftly that Nat was swept off the stage into the crowd 
as a fly off a table. 

The beggar waited the full time for him to return; and 
then claimed the prize. 

The victory of this queer unknown was popular. Nat was 
a great bully and braggart, and many of them had suffered 
insult at his hands. Therefore, when the beggar went to 
fetch his prize from the Sheriff's own hands, there was great 
cheering and applause. He found Monceux seated in a hand 
some booth, with his daughter and her maids, near by the 
archery rings. Here the shooting was in progress. 

The Sheriff narrowly watched each competitor, and glanced 
often towards Mistress Monceux. The demoiselle Marie had 
one of her women sitting near her feet, so that every move 
ment she made might be observed. The Sheriff's daughter 
signalled "No," and "No" again to her father as the various 
bowmen took their places. 

The beggar paused to watch the contest. It seemed to 
amuse him exceedingly. 

[257 J 


Master Patch was thus for some minutes close to the 
Sheriff's tent. His patched eye was turned towards it, and 
he seemed to be blissfully unaware of the great man's near 
presence. But he had taken due note, nevertheless, of Master 
Monceux and his cold daughter, and the maid sitting so for 
lornly upon the hard ground at the latter's feet. 

One of the Nottingham men, a tanner by trade, had so 
far been most successful, and, like Nat, he began to be dis 
dainful of the rest, and to swagger it somewhat each time his 
turn to shoot came round. "The prize will surely be thine, 
Arthur-a-Bland," cried Monceux, loudly clapping his hands 
together after this fellow had made a fair shot. 

"Indeed, I do not think that Master Hood himself would 
beat me to-day," admitted Arthur-a-Bland, conceitedly. 

The beggar heard both remark and answer. "Thou 
speakest well, gossip," he said, "here in Nottingham town; 
yet I would venture to advise thee, were this pretty place in 
Sherwood and the bold Robin within earshot." 

The archer turned towards him. " What do you know, old 
Patch-and-Rags, of Robin Hood?" he sneered, angrily. 

"I know too much of him," answered the beggar. "Once, 
like you, gossip, I boasted of my skill with the bow 'twas in 
Sherwood, whilst I was walking with a stranger who had met 
me very civilly upon the road. Says he: 'If you can hit yon 
mark I'll know you a better archer than Robin Hood.' So I 
flew my shaft arrogantly, and 'twas a tidy shot, near two hun 
dred paces. My arrow struck the mark fairly. 'What say 
you, stranger?' says I. He made for reply such a bowshot as 
never I have seen before; for, having stepped back a score of 



yards, he yet was able to speed his arrow so cleverly as to split 
mine own from end to end. 'Thou art Robin Hood,' I said 
then, and I had fear upon me.'* 

"What then?" asked Arthur-a-Bland, composedly. 

"For my boasting he gave me a drubbing," the beggar 
went on, "and for my archery five silver crowns." 

"Then thou canst bend the bow?" said Arthur. "Will 
you not attempt my lord Sheriff's prize, old Patch-and-Rags?" 

"Marry, I would most willingly," cried the beggar, "but 
for my lame leg and blind eye." 

" One does not need a leg to shoot arrows, nor yet two eyes. 
Take aim, gossip, and show us how you played the sport in 
Sherwood on that day." 

The archer's tone was mocking; but the beggar only re 
plied that he had already won a prize and was content. 

Just then one of the Sheriff's guards approached him. 

"My master would have speech with you, friend," said he. 

"And so you have met bold Robin Hood?" asked Monceux, 
so soon as the beggar stood before him. 

"Well do I know it," the beggar answered, writhing his 
eye in fiery glance about the Sheriff's tent. "My body is full 
sore yet from the beating he gave me." 

"Are you sure 'twas Robin Hood?" 

"That am I. He is a slim, slight man with long hair, and 
small, fair beard." 

"If you could lead me to him, friend, I would reward you 
well," said the Sheriff, in malicious tones. 

"I will show the place where we met soon as you will, ex 
cellence," replied the beggar. 



Monceux nodded, and made a sign of dismissal. "I will 
speak further with you later, friend," he said. 

The beggar went back to the archer and said that now he 
would take a shot with him. "I may as well win two prizes 
as one," he continued, affably, "for the horse will help me 
carry my pieces." 

Arthur-a-Bland was greatly incensed at this speech, and 
took aim with hands that trembled with anger. However, 
he made a pretty shot, and a round of cheering met 
his effort. 

The beggar took the bow which one of the archers held 
out to him, and fitted his arrow to it with a great show of care. 
When at last he released the arrow all got ready to laugh and 
jeer at him. 

He contrived, however, to surprise them once again, for 
his arrow was found to be a full inch nearer the middle of the 
mark than all the others. 

They shot again and again, and at length Arthur-a -Bland 
lodged his shaft in the center of the target. " Now mend that 
shot, Master Patch, an you can," cried he. 

"Nay, I fear that I must now yield the prize to you, 
gossip," declared the beggar. "Yet I will even do my 

He aimed with every circumstance of effort, and flew his 
shaft with a loud sigh. It rose up high in the air as though it 
must fly altogether wide of the target, and folk had already 
opened their mouths to laugh, when suddenly it dropped in a 
graceful curve towards the mark, the steel point struck exactly 
on the point of the other's arrow, just where it had lodged 



loosely in the bull, and Master Eland's arrow came tumbling 
to the ground, leaving the beggar's shaft shaking in the very 
hole its opponent's arrow had made. 

This wondrous feat of archery evoked the loudest applause, 
and had not the Sheriff been so foolish a man, must have 
awakened suspicion in his breast. But, no Master Monceux 
pompously gave over the Arab horse with its saddle, and the 
purse of gold to the victorious beggar; and then turned to 
leave the sports. 

He bade Master Carfax to see that the beggar did not go 
far away. The Sheriff did not mean to lose his gifts so easily. 
But the beggar was very willing to keep near to the Sheriff, 
and asked very humbly that he might be given a place in 
Monceux's household, instead of taking this horse, which was 
of small use to one of his trade. 

"I will accept your offer," said Monceux, "on the under 
standing that you will take the captaincy of my archers." 

With such a fellow as this in his household Monceux felt 
that he would soon lay Robin Hood by the heels. So he 
strutted to his horse, and was lifted thereon in fine self-satis 
faction. His daughter mounted her palfrey, and Carfax led 
the beast gently, whilst the maids had to hurry over the rough 
stones as best they might. 

The beggar gripped his staff and limped along beside the 
women. His roving eye implored a glance from the grey- 
blue eyes of the maid who had sat so uncomfortably at 
her mistress's knee. She moved, with downcast looks, after 
the rest, and only dared once peep at this strange ragged 




His lips moved, making her a signal, then were shut reso 

That night Monceux kept open house and grew noisy in 
his cups. He swore that Robin Hood was both coward and 
villain not to have come into Nottingham to take his chance of 
winning the horse and purse. 

Even as he spoke an arrow came flying in through one of 
the narrow windows of the Sheriff's hall, and, curving, fell 
with a rattle upon the table in front of the startled Monceux. 
Attached to it was an empty purse, Monceux's own that one 
indeed which had that morn held the hundred pieces so com 
fortably! "Where is that rascal beggar?" cried the Sheriff, 
suddenly having his doubts. 

"Where is my maid?" shrilled the demoiselle Marie, rush 
ing in upon her father. 

"I did not send for her," shouted Monceux, seeing it all. 
"Haste thee, Simeon, pursue them. They cannot be far 

"Excellence, the Arab steed hath been stolen, and by thy 
beggar guest," cried one of the servants, running in at the 
other door. "EJven now he has gained the bridge, carrying 
your new maid a-pillion, mistress. None may hope to catch 
them on that fleet horse." 

" They cannot win through the gates. After them, Simeon, 
as you love me. I never will look on you again if you do not 
capture Robin Hood and this girl." 

Mistress Monceux was quite beside herself with fury. 

"Alas, mistress," said the servant, "the gates of Notting- 



ham stand wide; did not my master order it so but this very 


"Silence!" roared Monceux; and, unable to control his 
rage, he struck the fellow to the ground. "After them, 
Simeon, and take what men you will." 

Master Carfax had other duty before him, however, for his 
gentle lady had relapsed into a screaming hysteria. They 
slapped her hands and poured wine between her lips, and finally 
her maids had to cut her laces and put her to bed. 



DAYS passed into weeks and weeks into months, and 
Robin Hood was still to seek. The Sheriff waged an 
intermittent warfare with him, scoring a few minor 
successes; then Robin moved himself and his men farther 
afield. Many of the Nottingham apprentices and other 
roving spirits joined when they might with Robin and his band. 
Arthur-a-Bland, the tanner, who had so nearly won the 
Sheriff's prize, had often in these days envious thoughts for 
the outlaws in their free life. Anything was better, to his 
mind, than oak-bark and ditch-water and the smell of half- 
tanned hides. Also he was ambitious to beat Robin at his 
own game. By dint of perseverance Arthur had once come 
very nigh to emulating that masterly feat of archery by which 
Robin had wrested the purse of gold and the Arab horse from 
him. Vastly elated at this promise of success, the tanner had 
flung down his trade and had marched off towards Barnesdale, 
armed with his bow and a long pike-staff. He strode across the 
close turf, browning now under an August sun, and was soon 
far away from the highroad and the small protection it af 
forded. He espied a herd of deer, and prepared himself to 
shoot one of them. Just as his bow was bent Robin came out 
of the bushes on his left hand; and, not noticing the tanner, 
the young outlaw began to move stealthily round to the wind 
ward side of the beasts in order that they might make a fairer 

mark for his arrows. 


"What makes you here so like a thief, gossip?" enquired 
Arthur-a-Bland, arrogantly. "I am a keeper in this forest, 
and it is my duty to stay you." 

"Have you any assistants, friend?" Robin asked, scarcely 
glancing towards him. " For it is not one man alone who will 
stop me." 

"Truly, gossip," cried Arthur, "I have no better assistant 
than this good oak-graff; but he will do all that I want. For 
your sword and your arrows I care not one straw if I can get 
but a knock at your poll you will ask me no further question." 

Robin unbuckled his belt at this; and, flinging his bow 
upon the ground, tore down a young sapling that was growing 
near by. With his dagger he quickly lopped it into shape; 
and then strode up to the tanner. 

"Eight foot and a half, and 'twill knock down a calf," 
sang Arthur, flourishing his staff still more, "and I hope it 
will knock down you." 

Robin sparred with him for a little, and then, making a 
sudden feint, bestowed such a blow on Master Bland that the 
blood ran down his cheek from his broken pate. 

But the tanner did not accept this favor without making 
some return, and soon was giving Robin as good as he gave. 
The wood rang with the noise of their blows, and the tanner 
laid on his strokes as if he were beating hides. 

"Hold your hand," cried Robin, at last. "You have done 
enough, and I will make you free of these woods." 

"Why, God-a-mercy," said Arthur, "I may thank my 
staff for that, good fellow; not you." 

"Well, well, gossip, let that be as it may. But ere we con- 



tinue, tell me your name and trade, at the least. I fain would 
know who 'tis who hath beaten me so well." 

"I am a tanner, gossip," replied Arthur, jovially now, 
"and by my soul, if you will come to my pits I will tan your 
hide for naught." 

"In sooth you have already done me that service," said 
Robin, ruefully. "But, harkee, if you will leave your tan- 
pots and come with me, as sure as my name is Robin Hood, 
you shall not want gold or fee." 

"If you be Robin Hood," said Arthur, "then I am Arthur- 
a-Bland; and I have come to live with you and my cousin 
Little John, in the free woods of Barnesdale. That is, if you 
will have me." 

"I have already given you freedom of the woods, and you 
shall see what welcome Little John can offer," answered Robin. 
"But tell me, friend, are you not that archer who so nearly 
won the Sheriff's horse from me in Nottingham town?" 

The tanner acknowledged himself to be the man, and since 
Robin put it so handsomely to him he forgot all his hard 
thoughts about the defeat. They joined hands in friendship 
and went together to find Little John, who seemed right glad 
to find his cousin ready to join the band. 

The day was spent in the usual free and happy manner. 
And when time for supper came round with the dusk 
Robin asked Little John for the name and style of their 
guest at supper this night. "For," said Robin, "you 
must have got me at least a bishop, a baron, or a knight, 
or some squire from the north country, to meet our new 
comrade to-night." 



"We have no guest, master," answered Little John, re 

"Then have I no stomach for my supper," Robin cried. 
"Go you at once, Little John, and you, Stuteley, and you also, 
Much, and find us such a guest, worthy of our company, and 
well able to pay for the pleasure of it." 

"Where may they find so desirable a man?" asked the little 
ferret Midge, eagerly. 

"Go into Watling Street," Robin told them. "At this 
time o' th' year there are many people passing that way." 

"May Heaven send us a guest speedily," said Arthur-a- 
Bland, "for I am growing wondrous hungry." 

The three outlaws started off at once and in high spirits, 
the adventure being one much to then* liking. They had 
scarcely watched the great highroad known to all as Watling 
Street (and which runs from Dover in Kent to Chester town) 
for many minutes, when they espied a knight riding by in a 
very forlorn and careless manner. One foot was in the stir 
rups, the other out; his visor was raised above his eyes, and 
his face was pinched and woebegone. 

Little John approached the stranger and bade him stay; 
for who can judge of a man's wealth by his looks? The out 
law saluted the knight courteously and informed him that his 
master was fasting, having waited supper for him a full three 

The knight reined in his sorry steed, and glanced toward 
his questioner with lack-lustre eye. Little John repeated his 

"And who is your master?" asked the knight then. 



"None other than Robin Hood, of Barnesdale," Little 
John returned, laying his great hand on the knight's bridle. 
"He bids us speed you to the feast." 

Seeing the other two, the knight shrugged his shoulders. 

" 'Tis clear that this is an invitation which will brook no 
refusal," he said. "So I will go with you, friends." 

When they were returned to Barnesdale, Robin saluted the 
knight very magnificently; and his horse having been cared 
for, all sat down to a plentiful supper of venison, pheasants, 
and various small birds. 

After partaking liberally of the good cheer, the knight 
brightened up considerably and declared that he had not en 
joyed so good a meal for nigh three weeks; and he vowed that 
if ever Robin and his comrades should come to his country he 
would entertain them with an equally worthy and honorable 

This was not, however, the exact payment which Robin 
had intended. He thanked the knight, therefore, and re 
minded him that a yeoman like himself might hardly offer 
such a supper to a knight as a gift of charity. 

"I have no money, Master Hood, nevertheless," answered 
the knight, frankly. "I have so little of this world's goods 
in sooth that I should be ashamed to offer that which 
I have." 

"Money, however little, always finds a welcome from us," 
said Robin, smiling. "Will you deem me too impertinent, 
Sir Knight, if I ask what moneys you have?" 

"I have, of my own, ten silver pennies," said the knight. 
"Here they are, and I wish they were a hundred times as 



many." He handed Little John his pouch; and the big fellow 
soon had knowledge of its contents. It was as the knight said, 
no more nor less. 

Robin filled his guest a bumper of wine, and made a sign 
for Little John to hand back the pouch. 

"Pledge me, Sir Knight," cried the merry outlaw, "and 
pledge me heartily, for these be sorry times. I see that your 
armor is bent and that your clothes are worn. Tell me now, 
were you a yeoman and made a knight by force? Or have 
you been bad steward to yourself and wasted your property 
in lawsuits and the like? Be not bashful with me, we shall 
not betray your secrets." 

"I am a Norman knight in my own right; and I have al 
ways lived a sober and quiet life," the sorrowful knight re 
plied. " My father, and his father, and his father's father were 
all knights of the King; but, as is often the case, friend Robin, 
rich men sometimes find their riches fly away from them. 
Until within this last year I have contrived by dint of care and 
labor, to live on the few hundreds of rent and the like which 
fall to me year by year; but now I have only these ten pennies 
of silver and my wife and children three." 

Robin asked how his moneys had gone from him. 

"I lost them through misfortune and naught else," the 
knight declared, sighing. "I have a son a good youth who, 
when he was but twenty years of age, could play prettily in 
jousts and tournaments and other knightly games. He had 
the ill luck to push his sports too far; and did kill a knight of 
Lancashire in a battle a entrance. To save my boy I had to 
sell my lands and mortgage my estates; and this not being 



enough, in the end I have had to borrow money from my lord 
of Hereford." 

"A most worthy Bishop," said Robin, ironically; "I know 
him well." 

"He seemeth to be a hard man in law," said the knight; 
"and since I cannot pay him the four hundred pieces he has 
promised to foreclose his mortgage on our home." 

"Have you not any friends who would become a surety for 
you, Sir Knight?" queried Robin, thoughtfully. 

"None. My friends have fallen away from me in mine 
adversity as leaves from an autumn tree." 

"Fill your goblet again, Sir Knight," Robin commanded; 
and he turned to whisper a word in Marian's ear. She nodded, 
and beckoned Little John and Much the Miller to her side. 

"Here is health and prosperity to you, gallant Robin," 
the knight said, tilting his goblet, "and my best thanks for 
your cheer. Would that I might make better recompense." 

The two outlaws, with Mistress Marian, had now con 
sulted the others, and all seemed to be agreed. Warren ton, 
as treasurer to the band, was sent into one of the inner caves, 
and presently returned, bearing a bag of gold. He counted 
it out before the knight; and there were four times one hun 
dred golden pieces. 

"Take this loan from us, Sir Knight, and pay your debt 
to the Bishop," Robin told him. "Nay, no thanks; you are 
but exchanging creditors. Mayhap we shall not be so hard 
on you as was the Christian Bishop; yet again, we may be 
harder. Who can say, where human nature is concerned?" 

Much now appeared, dragging a bale of cloth. "The 



knight should have a suit worthy of his rank, master, do you 
not think?" 

"Measure him twenty ells of it," Robin ordered. 

"Give him your Arab horse also," whispered Marian; "it 
is a gift which will come back to you fourfold, for this is a 
worthy man. My father doth know him well." 

So the horse was given also, and Robin bade Arthur-a- 
Bland ride as esquire to the knight; to be good use and to 
fulfil his first duty as one of the band. 

The knight was sorrowful no longer. He could scarcely 
voice his thanks to them; and was nigh overcome when time 
for his departure came round on the following morning. 

"God save you, comrades," said he, with deep feeling in 
his tones, "and give me a grateful heart." 

"We shall wait for you twelve months from to-day, here 
in this place," said Robin, smiling cheerfully. "And then 
you will repay us for the loan of the gold." 

"I shall return it to you within a year," replied the knight, 
firmly. "So sure as I am Sir Richard of the Lee, the money 
shall be returned, with interest beside. Look for me in the 
early days of March, friends, for then I expect to have good 
news of my son." 

"Then, or later, Sir Knight, as you will," said Robin. 



THE Sheriff having failed to ensnare Robin Hood, and 
Master Simeon having done so little better, it became 
clear that a more wise person than either must attempt 
the business. The demoiselle Marie had recovered from her 
fit of anger, and announced her intention of showing them both 
how such an affair should be approached. To this end she 
employed herself in archery and won some accomplishment 
in the sport; then she caused Master Fitzwalter's house to 
be searched thoroughly and any writings of his to be brought 
to her. 

Mistress Monceux engaged her fingers next in a pretty 
schooling, teaching them to hold a pen as awkwardly as might 
Master Fitzwalter himself. So she produced at last a writing 
purporting to come from him to Maid Marian, his daughter. 
She wrote it simply and in few words : 

"This to my dear child Marian, from her affectionate 
father, Henry Fitzwalter, now in the Court of St. James, in 
London town. I send you all greetings, and am well both in 
mind and spirit. I pray God that He has kept you as jealously 
in my long absence from home. This is to tell you, dear heart, 
that, after all, I shall return to Nottingham, mayhap very 
soon, and that you are to provide accordingly. I have had 
tidings of you given to me by my lord Bishop of Hereford, 



and now send you this by the hand of his man, who returns 
to Nottingham on other business of my lord's. I pray you 
to remain closely in Nottingham during my absence. 

" (Signed) FITZ WALTER, Warden of the City Gates. 
"The twenty-fifth day of August, 1188." 

The demoiselle Marie had made several attempts before 
she had succeeded in producing a letter so entirely to her satis 
faction; and when she had sealed the above with the Fitz- 
walter arms and had addressed it, she felt such a glow of pride 
in it that she could scarce bring herself to part with the missive. 

At length she bade one of her maids fetch Master Simeon 
to her. When, all delighted, he stood before her, his love 
handed him the note. 

"Take this, dear fool," said she, kindly, "and bring it to 
the hand of the maid Fitzwalter. She is with the outlaws in 
Barnesdale, hidden in one of their deeps, no doubt. I care 
not how you give it to her so long as you are speedy." 

"I will send it by the hand of Roger, your father's cook. 
He is well acquainted with their hiding-places." 

"That would be to spoil my plot at its outset," Marie 
answered, cuttingly. "Gather your wandering wits, and be 
think you of some more likely messenger. Have you not 
someone in this town who can be trusted?" 

"I have the very man for it," suddenly cried Carfax. 
" There is a young knight, one who hath been exiled by the King 
for plotting with Prince John. He is the only son of our fiery 
neighbor Montfichet. He hath done secret work for the Prince, 
and will do it again if he believes that he hath need for it." 



"You are for ever employed in doubtful business," said 
Marie, crossly. "I do not like your fiddling with Prince John. 
You may be sure that Richard will succeed to the throne; and 
then we shall see where your plottings have brought you." 

"Richard hath already succeeded," said Carfax, whisper- 
ingly. "I had the news but an hour since. Old Henry of 
Angevin is King no more he is dead. And Richard, Cceur 
de Lion, as the commoners do call him, hath gone to Palestine, 
all unknowing that he is King!" 

"So you think that John may seize the throne?" sneered 
Marie Monceux, unconvinced. "Let it be, I tell you, Simeon. 
In any case we must destroy these outlaws of Sherwood or 
they will destroy us. If they be not exterminated by the end 
of this year my father will cease to be Sheriff." 

"May the Lord forbid!" cried Carfax, startled. 

"Ay, and we shall be poor folk, Simeon, unworthy of you, 
no doubt. But that is not yet. Take this note, and send it 
how you will so long as it comes to this girl's hands within 
two days." 

Carfax accepted the charge; and went into the lodgings 
of one who had entered the town within the last few hours 
none other, indeed, than Geoffrey de Montfichet, who had 
brought Master Simeon the startling news of the King's sudden 

Geoffrey perceived that he might openly show himself now 
if the Sheriff would but ignore the dead King's decree of exile 
passed upon him. He was sounding Carfax in the matter, and 
the wily go-between was temporizing in his usual way trying 
to make some gain to himself out of one or the other of them. 



"If you will but carry this letter to Mistress Fitzwalter, 
who is with thy cousin Robin Fitzooth in Barnesdale, Sir 
Knight," said Simeon, plausibly, "you will win the gratitude 
of the Sheriff's daughter, at the least; and she doth rule the 
roost here, as I can tell you. 'Tis but a letter from Master 
Fitzwalter to his child." 

"I know the woods and will take the note," Geoffrey said. 
"See to it that Monceux does not move against me." 

"His girl will tie his hands, if need be," grinned Carfax. 
"Ay, she can drive us all. God speed you, Sir Knight." 

It fell out that whilst Robin was walking alone near the 
highroad to York, close to that very bridge whereon he had 
fought with Little John, he perceived a smart stranger dressed 
in scarlet and silk. Just as Robin espied this gay gentleman 
and was marvelling at his daring in walking these woods so 
coolly, unattended by squire or guard, the knight deftly fitted 
an arrow to his bow, and with a clever shot brought down a 
fine stag. 

"Well hit," cried Robin, who could never abstain from ad 
miration of a good bowman. "You have used your bow full 
well, Sir Knight." 

The scarlet knight turned towards Robin, and, taking him 
for some husbandman or hind, called out in high tones, asking 
how he dared to speak to his betters in that insolent way. 

"How is one to know one's betters, Sir Knight?" queried 
Robin, cheerfully. "A noble is not always known by his dress, 
but rather by his manners and his deeds." 

"Your insolence shall be well paid for," returned the other, 



putting by his bow and drawing his sword. Without further 
argument he approached Robin angrily, and struck at him 
with meaning. 

Robin was too quick for him, however, and caught the blow 
upon the edge of his own trusty blade. After a few passes- 
Robin feinted, and, catching the other unawares, dealt him 
a thwack with the flat of his blade. The scarlet stranger reeled 
under the blow. 

"I find you are not so mean a person as I had thought," 
observed he, in a series of gasps. "Yet, even now, 'tis not 
amiss that you should have a lesson." 

With that the two engaged heartily, and fought for nigh 
an hour, without either side gaining an advantage. 

At length he succeeded in pricking Robin on the cheek. 

"Hast enough, fellow?" 

"A rest would be welcome," admitted Robin, with a laugh. 

They called a truce and sat down side by side beneath 
a tree. The stranger eyed Robin thoughtfully; and Robin 
glanced back at him, with his suspicions slowly growing to 
certainty. Presently : 

"You are he whom they call Robin Hood, I take it," said 
the stranger, "although I do not know you by such a strange 

"It is my own name," replied the outlaw, "and I am proud 
of it. Are you not Geoffrey of Gamewell?" 

"That was my name, cousin, even as yours was once Robin 
Fitzooth, but now I call myself Will Scarlett. 'Tis a whimsey; 
but since Geoffrey Montfichet has a bigger price on his head 
than I can afford to pay, why, I have buried him under a 



prettier name! But tell me why you are dressed so plainly. 
On my life, I did not know you when first we met." 

"A man should have clothes to suit his work, cousin," 
argued Robin. "And 'tis a wonder to me that you should have 
been able to kill yon stag with such a wild color upon you. 
Howbeit, thy arrow was shrewd enough, and I'll say no more 
than to tell how well pleased I am to have fallen in with you 
again. Here's my hand in all true affection, cousin Scarlett." 

"And mine, cousin Hood." 

They carried the stag between them to Barnesdale; and 
Robin learned that his cousin had a letter with him for Marian. 
When Robin heard who had given it to Will Scarlett his suspi 
cions were immediately awakened. 

"However, let us give Marian the letter, and see what she 
may think upon it," he observed. "There cannot be much 
harm in that." 

Thus did Mistress Monceux succeed admirably in the first 
part of her scheme. 

Soon as Marian had had her letter she was all agog to go 
back into Nottingham. She showed the scroll to Robin, and 
though his heart misgave him he could hardly say her nay. 
No doubt as to the genuineness of the letter occurred to 
Marian: she knew her father's peculiarly awkward hand 
writing too well. Certainly the phrasing of it seemed a little 
too easy for so plain a man, yet since he had been so long in 
London he had, of course, acquired Court ways. 

On the third week in September Marian determined to re 
turn to her old home, and take the risk of any treachery. 



" Allan-a-Dale and Fennel shall go with you, dear heart," 
said Robin. "Why not? They can appear as your father's 
guests, and the two maids will help you keep house. Also 
Warrenton shall go as Allan's man. I can be sure that these 
faithful ones will guard my pretty love from all harm." 

"Am I indeed your pretty love?" asked Marian, in 
foolish happiness; "are you sure that you would not 
have some other maid to wit, the demoiselle Marie? She 
hath an eye for you, as I know for all she seemeth so 
much our enemy. Trust a woman for finding out another 
woman's secret!" 

Mistress Fennel was not loth to leave the greenwood. In 
the summer months the life was none too bad a one, but now 
that September mists and rains were upon Barnesdale, the 
young wife shivered and complained. "Hereford is the only 
one we need fear, after all," Allan admitted; "your old baron 
would never look for us in Nottingham." 

"And the Bishop is in London," said Marian, showing her 
letter. "See what my father saith." 

Therefore Robin and his men were left to their own de 
vices in the matter of cooking and kitchen work soon as Sep 
tember's third week had come and gone. Allan-a-Dale, War 
renton, the two girls and their two maids, all travelled into 
Nottingham on the best horses that the outlaws could provide, 
under escort so far as Gamewell. They were secretly watched 
into the town, that Robin might be sure no one attempted any 

It was arranged that Allan should come himself to Game- 
well, and seek the Squire's friendship on some near occasion. 


Then he might tell the old man about Marian and how she 
had left his roof. 

Montfichet would not be vexed with her, Marian felt. If 
he were, she would come herself, and coax him. Also either 
Allan or Warrenton would find means to send Robin news of 
the household, and tell him whether Fitz waiter returned as the 
latter promised. 

So all safeguards that wit could devise were taken, and 
Robin, having kissed her little fingers very tenderly, left 
Marian with her cortege, upon the road by Gamewell, and 
having satisfied himself that all had gained safe entrance to 
Nottingham, journeyed back to the caves at Barnesdale with 
quiet mien. His heart told him to suspect some evil plot 
yet where could he find one? Scarlett, his own cousin, had 
brought the letter, and Marian had recognized the writing. 

Oh, how dull the caves and the woods seemed without her! 
Tuck and the miller had employed themselves in cooking them 
all a royal dinner; and Stuteley tried his best to lighten the 
gloom. Robin laughed with them, and sought to hide his 
grief, feeling it to be unmanly. 

But never had he enjoyed a feast so little in the free woods 
as this one. Good food and good company he had, but not 
that salt with which to savor them a merry heart. 



THE autumn ripened into winter. Allan found means 
to send Robin news of them often: Master Fitzwalter 
had not returned; but had sent another letter saying 
that he would do so ere long. They all were happy and un 
molested in the city. Of the Sheriff and his daughter they 
had seen nothing. That Warrenton was well, and that they 
had gotten them a man-cook and other servants. 

Marian wrote little crabbed messages to him. Brief and 
ill-spelt as they were, they became Robin's chiefest treasures. 
Marian forebore making any attempt to see her love, for fear 
that she might be watched and followed, and so bring about 
Robin's capture. She fretted sorely at this restraint placed 
upon her by Allan's more prudent hands. 

The demoiselle Marie had made a miscalculation. She 
knew that presently Robin would seek Marian, even in the 
lion's mouth. Then would come the day of the Sheriff's 

The little house of the Fitzwalters was spied upon from 
within. No one bethought them of this new cook. Had 
Little John once espied him there would have been a different 
tale to tell, however. 

He had offered his services to Warrenton at a small pre 
mium, saying that he had lost his last place with being too 
fond of his bed. 



He said his name was Roger de Burgh, and that he came 
of good family. The wages he asked were so small, and he 
seemed so willing, and had been so frank as to his failing, that 
Marian bade him take up his quarters forthwith in her father's 

Life passed uneventfully for them in the Fitzwalter house 
hold. It was neither happy nor unhappy. Mistress Fennel 
found it vastly more amusing than the draughty caves of 
Barnesdale; but then Mistress Fennel had her dear and 
Marian had not. She was vaguely disturbed at her father's 
lengthened absence. Surely he should by now have deter 
mined where he would live Nottingham or London. 

The months crawled on and Christmas came and went. 

Marian was still tied to Nottingham streets and Robin to 
Barnesdale woods. This state of inactivity had told much 
upon the greenwood men upon Little John most of all. 

At last the big fellow fell out with Friar Tuck, and began 
to grumble at everyone in turn. Robin, in despair, bade him 
go into Nottingham, to see how the land lay there. "If you 
must be breaking someone's head, Little John, let it be one of 
our enemies who shall suffer. But have a care, for your 
tongue is as long as your body. Choose a cunning disguise 

"I will go as a beggar," said Little John, brightening up at 
the prospect of adventure. "For a beggar may chatter as 
much as he will 'tis part of his trade." 

So clad all in rags, and bent double as though with age, 
Little John went forth from their caves upon a February 
morning. He supported himself with a stout oak staff, and 



carried two great bags upon his shoulders. One held his food, 
and the other was to be refuge for anything of note that he 
might find left about such as Sheriff's plate, to wit, or a 
Bishop's valuables. 

He encountered four fellows of the like profession near by 
Nottingham north gate. One was dumb, another blind, the 
other two halt and lame. " Give you good morrow, brothers," 
said he, in a gruff voice. "It's my fortune that brings me 
to you, for I am in sore need of company. What is there 
a-doing in Nottingham since the bells be ringing a-merrily? 
Are they hanging a man, or skinning a beggar?" 

"Neither one nor the other, you crooked churl," replied 
one of the crippled beggars. "The Sheriff is returned from 
London with his daughter, and the folk are giving him a wel 
come, such as you will never have from the city ! Stand back, 
for there is no room for you there. Four of us as it is are too 
many, and we have come here to settle who shall go on and 
who turn back." 

"And how will you settle such a knotty point, gossip?" 

"Marry, with our sticks," retorted the beggar, threaten 
ingly. "But first we will dispose of you;" and he made a 
fierce blow at Little John. 

"If it be a fight that your stomachs are yearning for why, 
I am the man for you all," Little John said at once, "and I will 
beat the four of you heartily, whether you be friends or ene 
mies." Then he began to twirl his staff right merrily, and gave 
the dumb fellow such a crack upon his crown that he began to 
roar lustily. 

"Why, I am a doctor, then, since I can cure dumbness," 



cried the outlaw. " Now let me see whether I can mend your 
broken leg, gossip," and he cut the first cripple so suddenly 
across the shins that he dropped his staff and commenced to 
dance with pain. "Now for your eyes, friend." 

But the blind one did not wait for the cure. He took to 
his heels forthwith, running surprisingly straight. The other 
lame one ran after him full as fast. 

Little John caught them after a short chase, and dusted 
their rags thoroughly. 

"Give you good day, brothers," said he, then, well satis 
fied. "Now I am going to welcome the Sheriff, and, as you 
say Nottingham is too small a place for us all, therefore speed 
you towards Lincoln; 'tis a pretty town and none too far for 
such strong legs." 

His flourishing stick spoke even more eloquently. The four 
of them shuffled away speedily, sore in their minds and bodies. 

Nottingham was gay indeed. The Sheriff had returned 
from London, where he had been in order to gain more time 
for the capture of Robin Hood and his men. His daughter 
had complete faith in her scheme it was bound in the end to 
be successful. 

"Be patient, and all will be well," she told her father. 
But Christmas was the end of the time which Prince John had 
allowed Monceux for Robin's capture. Therefore, both the 
Sheriff and his daughter had journeyed to Court to see what 
instructions had been left, and whether they might not get 
the time extended. 

They contrived by spending much money in bribes, and 
in giving grand entertainments, to achieve their ends. King 



Richard was away in the Holy Land. Prince John was well 
employed in stirring up the barons to espouse him as King 
while there was such an opening. There was thus no actual 
monarch, and none in the Court to care much about the Sheriff 
or Robin. Those high in authority accepted the Sheriff's 
bribes, and bade him take till Doomsday. 

Squire Montfichet, who was, as we know, a staunch sup 
porter of the old order of things, would recognize no other 
King than Richard. As a matter of fact, the old man had no 
great love for him, but he was, after all, the true King, and 
Montfichet threw all his weight into the scale against John. 
The Saxon nobles were also active, feeling that now was their 
chance to recover power. 

So Monceux and the demoiselle saw for themselves that 
they had nothing to fear from the Court, at any rate. They 
had stayed and enjoyed themselves in the city, and the Sheriff 
was able to make himself presently very useful. 

The Princess of Aragon, one of the Court beauties, had 
need of an escort to York. She was going there to be married 
(much against her royal will) to one of the great Saxon nota 
bles. This was an arrangement made by the Richard party, 
in the hopes of winning the Saxons to themselves, as against 
John, who had already Salisbury, De Bray, and the cunning 
Fitzurse upon his side. 

The Sheriff had arrived with his train in great state, just 
as Little John entered Nottingham. The outlaw came in by 
the north gate, as Monceux, proud of escorting the pretty 
Princess, entered by the south. Nottingham was gay with 
bunting and flags, and the bells were ringing noisily. 



It was a royal procession, and soon as Little John was able 
to join with it his bag began to swell rapidly. Many a pocket 
did his sharp knife slice away from the side of unsuspecting 
wealthy citizens. 

Sports were held in the fields, and the beggar had a merry 
time of it. Towards nightfall his bags were both filled, and 
he began to think it about time to attend to the commissions 
which Robin had laid upon him. This was to convey a letter 
to Marian, and to discover how Allan-a-Dale and his little 
wife were faring. 

Little John shuffled with his bags along the narrow 
streets until he came to the house. He began to cry his 
wares, calling out that he was ready to change new goods 
for old ones, that he would buy old clothes and give good 
money for them. 

Marian and the rest had, however, gone to see the sights, 
for there were to be illuminations. Only Roger the cook had 
been left in charge, and he, having glanced once at the noisy 
beggar, angrily bade him begone. 

Little John only shouted the louder, and the cook furiously 
flung to the casement windows. The beggar passed by the 
house slowly, still calling "old clothes," as if he had not even 
noticed the angry cook. 

Yet Roger's few angry words had awoke sharp recognition 
in Little John. "By my rags and bags," muttered he, amazed, 
"this rascal needeth much killing!" The scene in the Sheriff's 
kitchen arose before him. "This time I will fling you into 
the river, Master Roger be sure of it. I wonder what evil 
hath brought you to this house of all others! If by chance 



you have harmed any one of them vengeance shall fall upon 
you swift and deadly." 

A thin rain had commenced to fall, and so the beggar turned 

The house was dark and silent. The beggar stopped in 
front of it uncertainly, grumbling under his breath at the 
driving rain. Just as he was about to move towards the door, 
the click of its latch warned him to jump back into the shadows 
of the next house. 

A white face looked out of the Fitzwalter home, stealthily 
peering right and left. Little John crept farther into the 

The cook came out into the wet road. He seemed to be 
scared and troubled. After a moment's pause he returned to 
the house, entered it silently, and Little John heard the latch 
click once more. 

"Now, what mischief is in the air?" thought Little John. 
"Some knavish business doubtless, or my friend Roger would 
not be in it. By my faith, I do mistrust that man." 

He went back into the middle of the road with his sacks, 
and commenced crying his wares afresh. Almost at once 
Roger opened the door again. "A murrain upon you, noisy 
rascal," he called; "can you not be still?" 

"Ay, truly, an it pay me," answered Little John, lurching 
towards him, as though he were tipsy. " Can I strike a bargain 
with you, gossip?" 

"What have you in the sacks, beggar?" 

"Everything in the world, brother. I have gifts for the 
rich, presents for the poor." 



"Have you anything fit for a cook?" asked Roger. 

"I have a basting spoon and a spit." 

"I will give you meat and bread much as you can carry 
if you have such a spoon as my kitchen lacks," whispered 

Little John dived his hand into a sack, and brought out 
a silver ladle, which he had stolen from a shop that day. 
Roger took it eagerly, and his fingers were icy cold. 

"Put your sacks down by the door, dear gossip," said 
Roger, after a moment's pause. " Here they will be out of the 
rain. I must go within to examine this ladle." 

"Have you not a tankard of ale to give me?" begged Little 
John, "I am worn with the day." 

"Enter, friend," Roger said then. "Tread lightly, for 
fear we disturb my folk." He took Little John into the dark 
passage. "I'll bring your sacks in for you, whilst you are 
here," continued Roger, very obligingly; and before the other 
could say him yea or nay, he had pulled the sacks into the 
house and had closed the door tightly. 

It was very dark, and Little John thought it only prudent 
to keep his fingers on his knife. He heard the cook rustling 
about near to him, and presently came a faint sound as if one 
of the sacks had bulged forward and shifted its contents. 
"Hasten with the ale, good friend," whispered Little John, 
hoarsely. "I feel mighty drowsy in this close place; soon I 
shall be asleep." 

Roger's voice answered him then softly from the end of the 
narrow hall, and almost at once the cook appeared with a 
lantern. He came creakingly over the boards, and handed 



Little John a mug of beer. "Your ladle is of the right sort, 
dear gossip," he announced, "and I will give you a penny for 

"Twenty silver pennies is my price for the spoon," an 
swered Little John, tossing off the ale at a draught. "Give 
it to me, brother, or return me my spoon. I do not find your 
ale to my taste," he added, wiping his mouth. 

Roger opened the door roughly. "Then begone, ungrate 
ful churl," he cried, forgetting his caution. He tried to push 
Little John roughly out into the night. "What! would you 
try to steal my bags?" roared Little John, suddenly snatching 
hold of Roger by the scruff of his neck. " You villain you 
rascally wretch you withered apple!" 

He tossed and shook Roger like a rat, and finally flung him 
into the center of the muddy road. "Help! help!" screamed 
the cook, at the full pitch of his voice. " Help ! a thief, a thief ! 
Help! murder! help!" 

His cries at once attracted notice. The dull, dead street 
became instantly alive. With an angry exclamation Little 
John dashed into the passage, seized up his bags, and fled, 
stepping upon the writhing body of the cook as he ran. 

Little John turned the first corner at top speed. Three 
men rushed at him with drawn swords. He swung his bags 
right and left and felled two of them. The third he butted 
with his head, and the man asked no more. 

Under the wet driving night Little John ran. The bags 
sadly impeded him, but he would not let them go. He darted 
down a little court to avoid a dozen clutching hands, and 
fancied he had now safety. 



He paused, drawing in his breath with a sob. The race 
had tried him terribly. The court was all dark, and his pur 
suers had overshot it; next instant, however, they recovered 
the scent and were upon him full cry. 

Little John, snatching his bags, dashed up to the end of the 
alley. There was a door, which yielded to him. 

Next instant he had plunged into the open lighted space 
before Nottingham Castle, into the midst of a shouting throng. 
The illuminations had not been a success, owing to the rain, 
but they gave enough light to achieve Little John's undoing. 
The beggar was seized and his bags were torn from him, just 
as those other pursuers sprang out through the alley. 

"He hath robbed a house, and killed a man," shouted the 
foremost. "Hold him fast and sure." 

"Nay I have killed no one," cried the giant, struggling 
hopelessly and desperately. "Take my bags an you will; 
I was but bearing them to my master." 

"Pretty goods to be carrying, indeed," said a voice, as 
someone turned one bag upside down. On to the hard wet 
stones rolled a number of things collected by this industrious 
outlaw pockets, daggers, purses, knives, pieces of gold, and 
pennies of silver, a motley company of valuables. 

"They are my master's," panted Little John, furiously. 
"Let them be." 

"See what he hath in the other sack," cried another. "He 
seemeth to have robbed our butchers also." The sack was 
opened, and the contents laid bare. 

A sudden silence fell upon the crowd, a silence of horror 
and hate. Then a thousand tongues spoke at once, and Little 



John, frozen cold with loathing, saw under the flickering lamps 
a dreadful thing. 

Out of the second sack had fallen the limbless trunk of a 
dead man, cold and appalling even in this uncertain light. A 
head, severed through the jugular arteries, rolled at his feet, 
grinning and ghastly. 

" Tis Master Fitzwalter," whispered one, in a lull. " Dead 
and dishonored " 

The clamor became deafening, and Little John felt his 
senses failing fast. He was beaten and struck at by them all; 
they tore at him, and cursed him. 

Their blows and their rage were as nothing beside the 
thought of that awful thing upon the ground. The crowd and 
the lamps reeled and swam before the outlaw's eyes and be 
came blurred. 

But the grim vision of that dreadful body became plainer 
and plainer to him. It assumed terrible proportions, shutting 
out all else. 



A the days sped on and nothing was heard of Little 
John, Robin began to grow more and more anxious. 
He made up his mind to go himself into Nottingham 
and there see Marian, and discover and (if need be) rescue his 
faithful herdsman. 

All the greenwood men were against him in this, however, 
and for once had their own way. "Let me go, Master," 
begged Stuteley; "for my life is of little account compared 
with yours." 

"I will go," said Scarlett. "There is no such animus in 
the Sheriff's mind against me as he hath against the rest of 
you. I can ask for Master Carfax and he will perforce treat 
me fairly." 

"I am not so sure of it," said Robin, significantly; "I 
would not trust Master Simeon further than a rope would 
hold him. Still, what you say is fair enough, cousin, and if 
you will go into the city for us we shall all be gratefuL For 
my part, I would dearly like to accompany you." 

"Your duty is here," answered Scarlett. "Rely on me. 
I will find out what hath chanced to Little John, and will also 
attend Mistress Fitzwalter." 

Will Scarlett started at once, and bore himself so well that 
he made sight of Gamewell within two hours. He paused for 
a moment without his father's house, regarding the old place 



with half scornful eyes. Then, "What is to be, must be," 
said Will, to hearten himself. 

He walked on toward Nottingham meditatively. If he 
could have met old Gamewell then and there he would have 
stopped him and asked his forgiveness. 'Twas in the morning, 
the sweet fresh morn, in the happy woods, wherein birds 
fluttered and sang tenderly, and the peaceful deer fed placidly 
on the close grass of the glades. 

This sylvan picture was disturbed rudely for him. A stag, 
wild and furious, dashed out suddenly from amongst the trees, 
scattering the does in terrified alarm. The vicious beast 
eyed Will in his bright dress, and, lowering its head, charged 
at him furiously. Will nimbly sprang aside, and having gained 
shelter of an oak, scrambled hurriedly into its branches. 

The stag turned about and dashed itself at the tree. 

"Now am I right glad not to be in your path, gentle friend," 
murmured Scarlett, trying to fix himself on the branches so 
that he might be able to draw an arrow. " Sorry indeed would 
be anyone's plight who should encounter you in this black 

Scarcely had he spoken when he saw the stag suddenly 
startle and fix its glances rigidly on the bushes to the left of it. 
These were parted by a delicate hand, and through the opening 
appeared the figure of a young girl. She advanced, uncon 
scious alike of Will's horrified gaze and the evil fury of the stag. 

She saw the beast, standing as if irresolute, there, and held 
out her hand to it with a pretty gesture, making a little sound 
with her lips as if to call it to her side. "For the love of God, 

dear lady " cried Will. 



And then the words died on his throat. With a savage 
snort of rage the beast had rushed at this easy victim, and with 
a side blow of its antlers had stretched her upon the ground. 
It now lowered its head, preparing to gore her to death. 

Already its cruel horns had brushed across her once. A 
piteous cry rang through the woods. Will set his teeth, and 
swung himself to the ground noiselessly. 

Then he quickly dropped to his knee, and was aiming his 
shaft whilst the stag was making ready for a more deadly 
effort. Will's arrow struck it with terrific force full in the 
center of its forehead. The stag fell dead across the body of 
the fainting maid. 

Will Scarlett had soon dragged the beast from off the girl, 
and had picked her up in his strong arms. He bore her swiftly 
to the side of one of the many brooks in the vale. 

He dashed cool water upon her face, roughly almost, in 
his agony of fear that she was already dead, and he could have 
shed tears of joy to see those poor closed eyelids tremble. He 
redoubled his efforts; and presently she gave a little gasp: 
"Where am I, what is't?" 

"You are here, dear maid, in the forest of Sherwood, and 
are safe." 

She opened her eyes then, and sat up. "Methinks that 
there was danger about me, and death," she said, wonderingly. 
Then recognition shone in her face, and she incontinently 
began to bind her fallen hair and tidy her disordered "dress. 
"Is it you, indeed, Master Scarlett?" she asked. 

"Ay, 'tis I. And, thank Heaven, in time to do you a ser 
vice." Will's tones were deep and full of feeling. 



"I am always in your debt, Master Will," she said, pouting, 
"and now you have me at grievous disadvantage. Tell me 
where you have been, and why you did leave cousin Richard 
and France?" 

"Once I had no safety there," replied Will, with meaning, 
"neither for myself nor for my heart. As for my leaving 
Richard's Court, why, foolishly, I would be always where 
you are." 

"So you have followed me, then; is that what I am to be 
lieve?" The maid smiled. "I will confess, I did know that 
you were come to London, and I was glad, Will, for I had not 
too many friends in England, nor have them now, it would 
seem. But why was there no safety for you in London? And 
where have you hidden yourself of late?" 

"There is a price upon my head. I am in exile. You 
know me as Will Scarlett, but in sooth my name is not so 

"I hate the Saxons," said the maid, pettishly. She had 
risen to her feet, but still was troubled about her tumbled 
hair. "I am to be married to one, and so have run away. 
That is why I am wandering in this stupid wood." 

" Call it not stupid, it hath brought you to me once more," 
whispered Will, taking her hands; "and so you do not love 
this man after all? Is it so? Had I but known!" 

"Didst leave London because of that?" asked she, lightly. 
"Ay, but men know how to cozen us ! I'll not believe a foolish 
thing, not if you were to tell it me a thousand times." 

"I'll tell it to you once, sweetheart. I did leave London 
because I learned that you were to be married to another. 



Life had no more to teach me than that one thing, and it was 
enough. For what was left for me to learn? I had loved 
you and loved you so well, and had loved you in vain." 

"Had loved, Will? Is thy love so small, then, that it 
burns out like a candle, within an hour? I had believed ' 

But Master Scarlett suddenly took this wilful maid to his 
heart. "I do love you, oh, my dear, with all my body and 
my life till the end of ends, in waking and sleeping. And 
so I pledge my troth." 

She struggled out of his arms. "I am encumbered with 
wild beasts at each step," cried she, all rosy and breathless. 
"One would kill me for blind rage, the other for love. Oh, 
I do not know which to fear the most. There, you may kiss 
my hand, Will, and I will take you for my man, since it seems 
that I am to be married whether I will or no. But you must 
carry the tidings to my Saxon in York, and, beshrew me, I 
hope he will not take it too hardly, for your sake." 

"And yours also." Scarlett was holding her again. 

"I like you well enough to be sorry if he should hurt you," 
said this teasing little Princess. She looked up at him, and 
then dropped her lashes. "Do you truly love me, Will? For 
truly do I love you." 

And so the Princess of Aragon elected to marry Geoffrey 
of Montfichet, notwithstanding the politic choice of husband 
made for her by the wise old men in London town. 

They walked on together towards Nottingham, quietly, 
and in deep content with the world. 

They encountered a stately little cavalcade near by the 
gates of the city, and knew themselves observed ere they could 



hope to avoid them. Putting a bold face on it, the lovers 
stood on one side, to permit this company to pass them. 

An old man, richly dressed, came first, followed at a re 
spectful distance by six horsemen. 

The Princess watched them in happy indifference. Her 
frank glance roved from one to the other of the would-be stead 
fast faces before her. She turned her head to gaze again at 
the absorbed old man who led the company. 

Then she checked herself in a little exclamation; and 
hastily averted her face. It was too late, the old fellow 
had been roused from his apathy. He reined in his grey 
horse, and asked over his shoulder: "Who are these, Jacque- 

The esquire so addressed at once rode forward, but before 
he could speak his master had discovered an answer for him 
self. He had fixed fierce eyes upon Master Scarlett, and made 
a scornful gesture. "So 'tis you, Geoffrey, daring death now 
for the sake of some country wench? Ay, but you will end 
upon the gallows, for sure." 

"I shall not ask you to pray at my bedside," retorted 
Scarlett, bitterly. 

The Princess suddenly whipped round. "Who are you, 
Sir Churl, to talk of gallows and the like to us? Hast come 
from a hanging thyself? There is one a foot in Nottingham, I 
mind me." 

It was now the turn of the old knight to exclaim. " Prin 
cess, you?" gasped he, in sheer amaze. He tumbled from his 
horse to the ground, and with old-fashioned courtesy knelt 
before her. She put out her hand for him to kiss. 



"Rise, Master Montfichet, I pray you, 'tis not your place 
to kneel to me," she said, with her little Court smile. 

The other horsemen had dismounted and now stood apart 
from the trio. The Princess was the first to speak, so soon as 
the old Squire had risen. "Master Montfichet and Will 
Scarlett, pray let me make you known to each other," she said, 
prettily. "This is Squire George of Gamewell, a good friend 
and honest adviser to me, although I do not always listen to 
him as I should," she laughed, easily. " This is Master Will 
Scarlett, whom I have known both in France and now again 
in England. He hath but now saved me from a dreadful 

She paused; then added quickly and a little nervously: 
"My life is his, in short, Master Montfichet, and so and so 
I have given it to him. We are to be married, and live in the 
greenwood. Therefore, you are not to speak slightingly of 
Master Scarlett in my presence." 

Consternation, astonishment and gratification struggled 
together mightily in the Squire's breast. "Geoffrey, you!" 
he said again. "But this is beyond belief." 

"Therefore believe it," spoke the Princess, lightly; "for 
that will show you to be no common man." 

"Sir," said Geoffrey, kneeling before his father, "I pray 
you forgive both my rash words just now and all my seeming 
ingratitude. I am very fain to be friends again with you, and 
I do swear to be more dutiful in the years to come. Will you 
take my hand?" 

"Ay, freely as it is offered. God save us; but who am I 
to be stubborn of will, in the face of these miracles?" 



"Do the miracles work happiness for you, Master Mont- 
fichet?" enquired the maid, archly. 

"Ay, marry. But the King will never consent to this 
business, be sure of it. You marrying my son a commoner !" 

"Your son?" It was now the Princess's turn to be amazed. 
But soon the matter was explained to her. "So, Will, you 
have begun by deceiving me; a bad beginning." 

"I was trying to tell you, dear heart, when we made this 
encounter. Was I not saying that my father lived near by 
here? Did I not tell you that he was a Norman " 

"There, there, do not fret your dear self. I will marry 
you, whether you be Will Scarlett or Geoffrey of Montfichet. 
It is yourself I need, after all." 

"Take my steed and ride with us to Gamewell. There, 
at least, I must keep thee, Princess, until the King hath given 
his sanction to this marriage. You to rule over Gamewell? 
In sooth I will be a joyful man upon that day." 

"And I," murmured Master Scarlett. 

So they turned back towards Gamewell, and only when 
they were in sight of it did Scarlett remember poor Little John. 
Then he stopped short, reining in the horse which one of the 
knights had lent to him. The Princess had accepted loan of 
the esquire Jacquelaine's palfrey. 

Will soon had told them this errand which he had come 
so near to forgetting altogether. "If this be the man they 
call John Little Nailor," said the Princess, sorrowfully, "why, 
he is in perilous plight. You have but just ridden through 
Nottingham, I take it, Master Montfichet, and have some of 
its news?" 



"They do not seem yet to know of your adventurings, 

"No, surely; for what is a woman, missing or to 
hand, when there is red murder abroad? This poor fellow, 
whom I do believe to be innocent, was accused of theft by 
a rascally cook, and was pursued. 'Twas the night of our 
return. They chased him from pillar to post, and presently 
caught him close to the castle. He had two bags with 

"'Tis Little John, then," cried Scarlett; "I saw him go 
out with the sacks across his back." 

"In one of them they found many things that other folk 
had strangely lost," said the Princess, with a little grimace. 
"In the other there was the dead, dishonored body of a good 
citizen foully done to death." 

Her listeners stared in their amazement. "It is a Master 
Fitz waiter who hath been so cruelly murdered," continued 
the Princess, her color coming and going. "This Little John 
swears that the cook did kill his master; and whilst he, Little 
John, was resting in Fitzwalter's house this rascal fellow must 
have changed the sacks." 

"Fitzwalter, the warden of the gates? I knew him well. 
Why, he left us but three weeks since to travel to Nottingham. 
It seems that he had sent a messenger to his girl there that she 
was to follow him, but either his letter miscarried or the maid 
would not. So poor Fitzwalter, busy as he was, must needs 
return to meet his death." 

"Who is this cook?" asked Scarlett. 

"An evil character, he hath altogether. Once he was of 



an outlaw robber band, headed here in these very woods under 
one Will of Cloudesley." 

"Tell me, is he called Roger de Burgh?" asked Will. 

"That is his name," answered the Princess, surprised; 
"do you know aught of him?" 

"I know much evil of him," replied her lover; and then 
he told them how this very Roger had planned to take his 
(Will's) life, and how Robin had saved him. 

The Squire nodded. "I remember," said he, slowly. 

"Ay, Robin was always a good lad. This news of 
yours will stagger him, for he is betrothed to Mistress 
Fitzwalter, daughter of him who hath so dreadfully met his 

"The two of them were arraigned, I must tell you," went 
on the Princess, "and both were to be racked. But they did 
not put it too hardly upon Master Roger, as I have reason to 
know, wherefore he was able to maintain his innocence; whilst 
the other, in his bitter anguish, made confession of a crime 
which he did never commit." 

"And they are hanging him whilst I stand idly here," cried 
Scarlett, turning to horse. "I must leave you, sweet; for 
give me. Here is a man's life in the balance." 

"What would you, Will?" she asked, fearfully. "The 
hanging is fixed for the Thursday in next week." 

"Before then he shall be free," said Will Scarlett, firmly. 
"Farewell, dear heart. Wait for me here at Gamewell; my 
father will be good host to you, I know." 

"The maid Fitzwalter was lodging with us when I was 
called to London," the Squire began. 



"She is now in Nottingham, sir. It is a story which I will 
tell you later. Now give me farewell, and your blessing." 

"God's blessing be in you, Geoffrey, my son," said the 
Squire. It was the first time for many years that he had called 
Geoffrey by that name. 

"And take all my heart with you, Will." The voice of 
this little Princess was husky ; and a sob sounded in her throat. 
"Be cautious, and return soon to me." 

She watched his swift retreating figure as he sped towards 
Nottingham, there to argue it with Master Carfax. 



TELE day after Scarlett's departure found Robin in frantic 
mood. Two emissaries had he sent out to gain news 
of Marian, and neither had returned. He had had now 
no direct tidings of her for nigh on three months. Little John's 
silence, too, disturbed him. 

Robin determined that he would see Marian, at least, this 
day, or die in, the attempt. So, notwithstanding all that the 
rest could urge, their leader started away on foot towards the 

He walked quickly, and his mind was so filled with dread 
ful thoughts that he exercised little of usual care. Emerg 
ing suddenly upoa the high road, he plunged almost into the 
arms of his enemy, the Lord Bishop of Hereford. 

It was too late for Robin to retreat, and he was too far 
away for him to wind his horn in the hope of rousing his men. 
The Bishop rode at the head of a goodly company and had al 
ready espied him. 

About a mile away, near by th.e roadside, was a little 
tumble-down cottage. Robin remembered it and saw his 
only chance of safety. At once he doubled back through the 
underwood, much to the surprise of the Bishop, who thought 
he had truly disappeared by magic. In a few minutes Robin 
had come to the little cottage. The owner of the place, a 
little crabbed old woman, rose up with a cry of alarm. 
: 'Tis I, Robin Hood; where are your three sons?" 



"They are with you, Robin. Well do you know that. Do 
they not owe life to you?" 

" Help now repay the debt," said Robin, in a breath. "The 
Bishop will soon be without, and he has many men." 

"I will save you, Robin," cried the old woman, bustlingly. 
"We will change raiment, and you shall go forth as the poor 
lone woman of this cot. Go without and strip yourself 
speedily; and throw me your clothes through the doorway." 

Robin was in the garden and had slipped out of his Lincoln 
green in a moment. He clad himself with equal celerity in 
the old woman's rags, as she flung them out to him one by 

The Bishop perceived an old decrepit woman hobbling 
across the road, as he with his company came hastening down 
it. He bade one of his fellows to stay her, and ask if she had 
seen such and such a man. The soldier gave her a full and 
vivid description of Robin Hood. The old woman, thus 
rudely prevented from gathering her sticks already she had a 

little handful of them answered that there was a man within 

her cottage; and that she would be right glad if my lord Bishop 
would cause him to be driven out of it. "In sooth, my good 
gentlemen, he is none other than that vagabond Robin Hood," 
piped she. 

"Enough!" cried the Bishop, triumphantly. "Enter the 
cottage, men; beat down the door, if need be. A purse of 
gold pieces is already offered for the capture of Robin Hood, 
and I will give a hundred beside!" 

The old woman was released, and went on gathering twigs 

for her fire. Little by little she edged towards the forest, 



and while the Bishop's men were beating down her cottage 
door she vanished between the trees. 

Then she began to run, with surprising quickness, towards 

Stuteley encountered her presently, and was at first pre 
pared to treat her in rough fashion. " Hold your hand, sweet 
Will," cried Robin, "it is I, your master. Summon our fel 
lows, and return with me speedily. My lord of Hereford is 
come again to Sherwood." 

When Will had done laughing he blew his horn. "Why, 
mistress," said he, turning his grinning face to Robin as though 
seized with a notion, "is not this the day when the knight 
Sir Richard of the Lee he to whom you gave Arthur-a-Bland 
swore he would return to pay us our moneys?" 
; 'Tis near the time, in sooth," admitted Robin. 

"Then surely he hath sent the Bishop to us, not being 
able to come himself?" argued Will. "We will see if the 
Bishop is carrying four hundred gold pennies with him. If 
it be so, then I am right, indeed." 

The Bishop, for all his bold words, had not yet nerved 
himself to give the necessary command of death against the 
person of Robin Hood. Since he would not come out of the 
cottage, the door must be beaten down. 

When this had been done the Bishop's men had peeped 
in. "He is here, hiding," they cried, exultingly. "Shall we 
slay him with our pikes?" 

"Nay, keep watch upon and guard this cottage against 
all comers. Go, one of you, to Nottingham, with all speed, 



and bring the Sheriff to us, with many men. Say that I bid 
him here to settle matters with Robin Hood." 

The good Bishop of Hereford did not intend to give this 
villain a single chance. Were he brought out into the open, 
he might, by some magic, contrive an escape. Lying in this 
hut under the pikes of the Bishop's men he was safe, and if the 
worst came to the worst might readily be slain. 

The messenger detached from his escort had not carried 
the Bishop's message to the Sheriff very far ere his master 
would have wished to change it. In a moment, whilst my 
lord of Hereford was complacently gloating over his capture 
whilst indeed he was himself peering into the dark cottage 
in order to catechise his prisoner there appeared on the high 
road the shabby figure of that very old woman who had in 
nocently helped to set the trap. 

She called out in a strident voice to the soldiers about her 
dwelling. "Stand by, lazy rascals," cried she, "stand away 
from my gates. What are you doing on my ground?" 

"Madam," answered the Bishop, turning round to her, 
"these are my men, and I have given them the order to guard 
this cottage." 

" God-a-mercy ! " swore the beldame, harshly. "Things 
have come to a pass in sooth when our homes may be treated 
like common jails. Take away this robber and your fellows 
from my house on the instant, or I will curse you all in eating 
and drinking and sleeping." 

"Not so fast, mother," argued the Bishop, smiling easily 
at her simulated rage. "All this has been done by my orders, 

and is therefore in law." 



The old woman clapped her hands impatiently. At the 
signal the greenwood men sprang out on all sides of the cottage. 
The Bishop saw himself and his men-at-arms trapped; but 
he determined to make a fight for it. "If one of you but stir 
an inch towards me, rascals,'* he cried, spitefully, "it shall be 
to sound the death of your master Robin Hood. My men have 
him here under their pikes, and I will command them to kill 
him forthwith. Further, he shall be killed an you do not at 
once disperse." 

Then Robin stepped out before his men. He flung off the 
old crone's cap which he had worn so cleverly. "Come, kill 
me, then, lord," he called, cheerfully. "Here am I, waiting 
for your pikes and their pokes. Hasten to make sure business 
of it, for I am in no gentle humor." 

The old woman, who, in the garb of Robin Hood, had been 
lying silent and still so long within the cottage, jumped up 
then quite nimbly. In all the bald absurdity of her disguise 
she came to the door of the cottage and looked forth. " Give 
you good-den, my lord Bishop," piped she; "and what make 
you at so humble a door as this? Do you come to bless me 
and give me alms?" 

"Ay, marry, that does he!" said Stuteley, coming forward. 
"To you, mother, and to us also. You must know that my 
lord bears with him a bag of four hundred pieces from Sir 
Richard of the Lee, who did borrow this money from us to 
lend it to my lord." 

"Now, by all the saints " began the Bishop. 

"They are watching you, brother," said Stuteley, impu 
dently, "so be wary in your speech. Give into my hand the 



four hundred pieces which you took from the knight I have 
named. You cannot deny that you did take them from him 
in the June of last year?" 

"The knight owed them to me, villain," said the Bishop, 
furiously. He saw that his men were outnumbered, and that 
all the outlaws had drawn bows aimed against them and him. 
A word not to the liking of these desperate fellows would 
loosen fifty horrid shafts upon him. "Sir Richard did owe 
them to me," he repeated, omitting the epithet. 

"Hark now to that!" said Robin, still in his disguise. 
"Listen to it, friends, for ye all were witnesses that Sir Richard 
swore to me that the Bishop had robbed him, and sought to 
rob him more. Did not you, in honest truth, lend the knight 
four hundred pieces, my lord?" 

"I did not lend him that precise amount," admitted the 
Bishop. "Four hundred pieces included also the interest of 
the sum I gave." 

"Ho! you gave?" Robin snapped up the word. "You 
gave it, my lord?" 

"I will not bandy words with you, you false villain," 
shouted the Bishop, suddenly losing control of himself. " Why 
do you not charge them, men? Take the word from me, and 
hew these fellows down as they stand." 

"They will be well advised to remain as they are," spoke 
Robin. "See now how we command you all!" He took a 
bow and arrow out of Much's hands, and sped a shaft so truly 
towards the purpling Bishop that his mitred cap was sent 
spinning from off his bald head. 

My lord turned green and yellow. He had thought him- 



self dead almost. "Take my money, rascals," he quavered, 
feebly; and Stuteley approached him, cap in hand. 

"Tied to the saddle of my palfrey you will find my all," 
murmured the Bishop, sighing deeply. 

Stuteley took a well-filled bag from under my lord's empty 
saddle. He spread his cloak upon the road and counted out 
four hundred pieces into it. "The interest, master?" asked 
Will, twinkling to Robin. 

"Pay that to this old woman who hath befriended and 
saved me; and give her, further, two hundred of the pieces 
on thy cloak," commanded Robin. "We will share with her, 
even as she hath already shared with me this day." 

The outlaws then withdrew, taking with them the old 
woman and the Bishop's gold. They left him in no great 
humor; but forebore to provoke him further. 

This adventure had, however, banished all hope of Robin 
making his projected journey into Nottingham. He had per 
force to return to the caves at Barnesdale, to get changed 
again into a more befitting dress. The day was old when he 
was ready to go out once more; and at Stuteley 9 s entreaty 
Robin consented to wait until the morning. 

The Bishop lost no time in making Nottingham. He and 
his men were so ashamed of having been overcome so easily 
by the greenwood men that they had perforce to magnify 
Robin's band and its prowess twenty -fold. 

Amongst the many knights who had followed, hopelessly, 
in the Princess's train was one whose attentions had ever been 
very noxious to her. This was a coarse, over-fed, over-confi 
dent Norman, brutally skilful in the games at tourneys and 



ruthless in battles a entrance. His name was Guy of Gis- 
borne, and he hailed from the borders of Lancashire. To him 
had fallen the rich fat acres of Broad weald, that place for which 
poor Hugh Fitzooth had wrestled vainly for so long. 

He had persecuted her unavailingly 'twas through a scene 
with him that Scarlett had come so much into the maid's 
favor. Sir Guy had followed her to Nottingham, meaning 
to steal her from the Sheriff at first chance. "No Saxon churl 
shall hope to carry off this prize from me," thought Sir Guy. 
"Her beauty pleaseth me, and her fortune will help mine own. 
Therefore, I will follow her meekly until we come nearer to 
my own land. Then, perhaps, one night pompous Monceux 
may find her flown. He will be blamed; and none need know 
whither the little bird has gone and by whom she hath been 

Sir Guy of Gisborne found another in the field with him; 
the Princess had not waited for him to steal her. The little 
bird had flown ere Sir Guy's trap had been set. 

So the Bishop of Hereford found both the Sheriff and Sir 
Guy in evil humor. My lord told his story, raging against 
Robin; the Sheriff had his complaint directed against the 
Princess in general and no man in particular. 

"Depend on it, Monceux, this rascal hath stolen away your 
charge," said the Bishop, in order to stir the Sheriff to greater 
lengths against Robin. "How can you sit here so idly, first 
losing your gold plate to him and then your gold? Now, 
with one blow goeth this Princess who was most solemnly 
committed to your charge, and with her your good name. For, 
without doubt, this matter will cost you your office." 

[ 309 ] 


Monceux was overcome with terror; his eyes started out 
from his head. "I did hear them speak of some girl betwixt 
themselves, now that I think on it," continued the Bishop, art 
fully, noting the effect he had made. "'This woman shall 
share with us' ay, those were Robin's very words. The 
Princess hath been stolen by him." 

"She last was seen walking towards the woods, 'tis true," 
murmured the unhappy Sheriff. "But, truly, I am not to 
blame in this plaguey business." 

"I will encounter the villain for you, Sheriff," said Sir 
Guy, with a cunning glance. "And if I do rid you of him, will 
you swear to stand by me in another matter?" 

"Surely, surely." 

"Your word on it, then here in my lord's holy presence," 
Sir Guy went on. "This girl hath been told by a council of 
wiseacres that she must marry some Saxon noble. But her 
heart is given to another to myself, in short. Swear that 
you both will help me to win her, and I will take her from your 
merry Robin and kill him afterward." 

They both promised readily that they would do all that 
he could ask if only he would kill Robin Hood outright. 
The Bishop had great influence at Court, and Sir Guy intended 
that he should smooth matters for him after the abduction of 
the Princess. The Sheriff was to hold fast to any story that 
might be necessary, and to swear to the little Princess that 
Sir Guy of Gisborne was the very Saxon whom she had been 
ordered to marry. 

"All this is settled between us," observed the knight, com 
fortably. "Give me a number of men, all of them good 



archers, and put them at my sole command. I will go forth 
to-morrow in a disguise such as will deceive even your wonder 
ful Robin." 

"We will hold over the hanging and flaying of the other 
rascal until his master can dance beside him," cried the Sheriff, 
conceiving Robin to be already caught. 



R)BIN started out early in the day towards the city. 
This time nothing should stay him from entering it 
and finding Marian. The demoiselle Marie's plan 
would surely have succeeded on this day, for Robin was care 
less of all things but the hope of seeing his dear. 

Sir Guy of Gisborne was there, however, as Robin's good 
angel, as we are to see, although Sir Guy had, in truth, no very 
merciful feelings towards the outlaw. 

Robin perceived upon the highroad a very strange figure 
coming towards him. It seemed to be a three-legged monster 
at first sight, but on coming nearer one might see that 'twas 
really a poorly clad man, who for a freak had covered up his 
rags with a capul-hide, nothing more nor less than the sun- 
dried skin of a horse, complete with head and tail and mane. 

The skin of the horse's head made a helmet for the man; 
and the tail gave him the three-legged appearance. 

"Good morrow, gossip," said Robin, cheerily; "by my 
bow and by my arrows, I could believe you to be a good archer 
you have the shape of one." 

The man took no offence at this greeting, but told Robin 
that he had lost his way and was anxious to find it again. 

"By my faith, I could have believed that you had lost your 
wits," thought Robin, laughing quietly to himself. "What is 
your business, friend?" he asked, aloud; "you are dressed in 



strange clothes and yet seem by your speech to be of gentle 

"And who are you, forester, to ask me who I am?" 

"I am one of the King's rangers," replied Robin; "and 
'tis my part to look after the King's deer and save them from 
the wicked arrows of Robin Hood." 

"Do you know Robin Hood?" asked the man, shrewdly 
eyeing him. 

"That do I; and last night I heard that he would be com 
ing alone in a certain part of this wood to meet a maid." 

"Is that so indeed?" cried the man, eagerly. 
: 'Tis very truth," answered Robin. "And I, knowing 
this, am going to take him, and carry off both the girl and the 
reward upon his head." 

"Tell me, friend, is this girl a little creature, royal looking 
and very beautiful?" 

"Marry, she appeared to me a very Princess," cried Robin, 
with enthusiasm. 

"We are well met," remarked the yeoman, presently, and 
speaking as if come to a decision. " Now I will tell you, friend, 
that I am in search of Robin Hood myself, and will help you to 
take him. I am Sir Guy of Gisborne, and can make your 
fortune for you." 

"And I am Robin Hood, so, prithee, make it quickly for 
me!" cried Robin, imprudently. 

Sir Guy was not taken so much aback as Robin had hoped. 
Quickly he drew his sword from underneath the capul-hide, 
and he smote at Robin full and foul. 

Robin parried the thrust with his own true blade, and soon 



they were at a fierce contest. They fought by the wayside 
for a long while in a deadly anger, only the sharp clashing of 
their blades breaking the silence. 

Then Robin stumbled over the projecting root of a tree; 
and Sir Guy, who was quick and heavy with his weapon,, 
wounded Robin in his side. 

The outlaw recovered himself adroitly; and, full of sud 
den rage, stabbed at the knight under and across his guard. 
The capul-hide hindered Sir Guy in his attempt at a parry 
the horse head fell across his eyes. 

Next instant Sir Guy of Gisborne went staggering back 
ward with a deep groan, Robin's sword through his throat. 

"You did bring this upon yourself," muttered Robin, 
eyeing the body of the knight in vain regret. ''Yet you did 
fall bravely, and in fair fight. You shall be buried honorably.'* 

He dragged the body into the bushes; and, having taken 
off the horse hide, slipped it upon himself. He then per 
ceived that, hanging from the dead man's belt, there was a 
little silver whistle. "What may this be?" thought Robin. 

Sir Guy, clothed in old and ragged dress, looked to be a 
plain yeoman, slain in defence of his life, or mayhap a forester. 
Pulling the hide well over himself Robin put the little whistle 
to his lips and blew it shrilly. 

Instantly, far off to the right of him, sounded an answer 
ing note, and again from behind him there was reply. In 
about four or five minutes twenty of the Sheriff's best archers 
came running through the wood to Robin's side. 

"Didst signal for us, lording?" asked the leader of them, 
approaching Robin. 



"Ay, see him! I have encountered and slain one of your 
robber fellows for ye," answered Robin, simulating Sir Guy's 
voice and manner. "I would have you take up his body upon 
your shoulders and bear him along this little path, wherefrom 
he sprang upon me." 

The archers obeyed him immediately. "Do you follow 
us, lording?" they asked. 

"I will lead ye," cried Robin, waving his red sword trucu 
lently. "Follow me speedily." 

Thus he led them after him through the secret paths into 
Barnesdale, and there blew his horn so suddenly that Stuteley 
and his fellows were upon the Sheriff's men ere they might 
drop Sir Guy's dead body to the earth. 

Robin bade his men disarm the archers, and tie such of 
them as would not prove amenable. 

Thus the Sheriff was robbed of his best archers; for these 
fellows, finding the greenwood men to be of such friendly 
mind, soon joined in with them. 

"This is well done, in sooth," said Robin, gently, to him 
self. "A good day's work; and Monceux will have cause to 
regret his share in it. Yet am I no nearer Nottingham after 
all, tho' I have twice sworn that naught should stay me. 
Stuteley," added he, aloud, calling his squire to his side, "see 
you that this dead knight be buried with all respect; he fought 
me well and fairly." 

"It shall be done, master," answered Will Stuteley; "you 
may be easy about it. But I would have you listen to the 
talk of these archers they have grave news of our comrade 
Little John. It seems that the Sheriff hath seized him for 



the killing of thy maid's father, and will presently have him 
dreadfully hanged and burned." 

Robin uttered an exclamation of horror. Soon the terrible 
story was told him, and his brain reeled under the shock of it. 
All that night he paced the woods until the dawn, then fell 
incontinently into a deep and heavy slumber. 

"Disturb him not nor let him take action until I do re 
turn," said the comfortable Friar Tuck, in business-like man 
ner. "I know how his distemper will play upon him, and how 
he will bring us all to grief if he attempts the city again. Now 
I may go in and out as I will, being a curtal friar and not now 
remembered in these parts. I will visit the Sheriff and ask 
for leave to confess Master Little John. Then I will come back 
to you with the best news I may." 

Geoffrey of Montfichet had ridden into Nottingham on 
the day before Sir Guy had left it. Carfax had known where 
the Princess might be found all the while his master, with 
the Bishop, was busy persuading the Knight of Gisborne that 
the maid was with Robin. One might be sure, however, that 
neither Monceux nor Carfax gave out any hint of this knowl 
edge, for to do that would have stayed Sir Guy in his praise 
worthy attempt upon the bold outlaw. 

Geoffrey Master Scarlett had found difficult work be 
fore him, but he intended to save Little John. He was con 
vinced that the cook had slain Fitzwalter, most likely at the 
command of some other person interested in the death. 

Who might this be? Who had profited by the death of so 
unassuming a man as the late city warden? 



Carfax treated Scarlett with scant ceremony. The lean- 
faced fellow devoured the item that the Princess of Aragon 
was safe at Gamewell, but gave nothing in return. Scarlett 
had been left to cool his heels in the great hall of Nottingham 
Castle for near an hour afterward, whilst Simeon Carfax was 
closeted with the Sheriff. 

They were having a tidying of the rooms in honor of the 
Bishop's visit. Whilst Scarlett impatiently waited the good 
pleasure of Master Carfax the maids were busy carrying many 
things to and fro; fresh rushes to strew my lord's rooms, 
candles and tapers, silks and cloths, and brown ewers of water. 
All the rubbish and sweepings of the floors were borne out in 
great baskets to the courtyard. 

One of the maids, a plump, roguish, lazy wench, would 
only carry her basket so far as the hearth of the hall. A fire 
was there, why not use it? Also she could ogle and throw 
sidelong looks at Master Scarlett, who, for his beard and thirty- 
five grave years, was none so bad a man. 

This girl was throwing into the open hearth a lot of ends 
of silk and combings from her mistress's room. She tossed 
the rubbish on the fire, at the same time eyeing Master Scar 
lett. Then, finding that he would not notice her, she poutingly 
returned with her basket upon a fresh journey. 

Scarlett came over to the fire to pick up some of the burn 
ing scraps. They were drifting over the hearth into the room 
dangerously, thanks to the maid's carelessness. 

He found in his hand a half-burned piece of parchment, 
which still fizzled and crackled in quaint malicious fashion. 

Upon the parchment was an awkward writing, and some 



of the words showed up very black under the heat. Half 
idly, Scarlett tried to make sense of them: 

"This . . . dear child Marian, . . . her affec 
tionate father . . . Court of ... in London town." 

So far did Master Scarlett read before suddenly the be 
ginnings of the truth flashed upon him. This was the very 
letter which he had borne to Marian. 

How had it come into the castle? By what strange magic? 
Could Marian have carried it here herself? 

He remembered that she had given it to Robin, and that 
he had put it into his bosom. 

"Mistress, you seem indeed to be very busy this day," 
said Master Scarlett, affably, to the girl next time she ap 
peared. "Do you prepare me a chamber, for it seems that I 
am to wait here for a week at least." 

"I am tidying my mistress's room, and have had hard work 
I promise you," replied the girl, impudently. "Mayhap you 
will give me a help whilst you wait, Sir Taciturn? This is 
the fifth basket of rubbish I have borne from the demoiselle 
Marie's little cupboard." 

"I will readily help you if you will help me," said Scarlett, 
pleasantly. "Canst tell me who wrote this little paper? 
The writing seemeth familiar to mine eyes." 

" 'Tis a piece of my lady's jesting," said the girl, after a 
glance at the parchment. " 'Twas written in imitation of 
Master Fitzwalter's hand after we had searched his house last 
year. Ah, poor man, who would have then imagined so hard 
a fate for him?" She sighed prodigiously, and rolled her eyes. 

"Tell me the story of this murder, mistress, I pray you." 



She was not loth to fall a-chattering, and she told Scar 
lett all she knew of it. From the rambling history he dis 
covered another strange fact, that Roger de Burgh had been 
cook in the Sheriff's household before he had gone to the Fitz- 
walter house. Slowly he began to see that the letter he had so 
blithely put into Marian's hand was a forgery, done by the 
clever fingers of the demoiselle Marie. 

"So," thought he, swiftly, "Mistress Fitzwalter was per 
suaded to return to this place in order that Robin Hood might 
visit her secretly. The house was watched by a spy from the 
Sheriff's own kitchen. Soon as Robin came, this spy was to 
give warning; or, if matters pressed, kill him. But after 
many months of waiting, Fitzwalter came instead." 

His quick mind, used to the intrigues and plots of a capri 
cious Court, had unravelled the mystery. Yet how could he 
act upon this knowledge in the midst of the enemy's camp? 
If the Sheriff could stoop already to such foul business as this, 
to what further lengths would he not go? Dismissing himself 
through the girl, Scarlett strode out of the castle. The air 
seemed fresher and more wholesome without. He enquired 
and found his way to the house of grief, and there asked audi 
ence with its little heart-broken mistress. 

Whilst Scarlett was plotting and inventing a hundred 
schemes to save Little John, a poor wandering priest appeared 
one evening before the gates of Nottingham Castle. Most 
humbly he begged a little bread and a drink of water; and, 
having received these, he blessed the place and all within it. 

"You should not bless all within this castle, Sir Priest," 



the Sheriff told him. Monceux had pompously administered 
to the man's simple wants with his own hands. "There is a 
villain in our cells who hath done wicked murder." 

The ragged friar asked who that might be; and when he had 
heard, said that at the least he would confess this poor misguided 
fellow and so deliver his soul from everlasting punishment. ' 

The Sheriff was rather doubtful, but seeing that the priest 
had no weapon upon him, he gave a sign that he should be ad 
mitted to Little John's cell. 

There the friar found the big outlaw very dejected. " Give 
you good cheer, brother," said the friar, gently; "I have come 
to pray with you." 

"What assistance can your prayers be to me? " asked Little 
John, sharply; "I am to be hanged to-morrow morn, and all 
your prayers will scarce alter that." 

"Anger is a great sin," replied the priest. 

"I have no sins against God," said Little John; "I have 
always endeavored to live easily and justly." Then the friar 
came up close to him, and whispered something in his ear. 
The outlaw's expression altered at once. "By the Sheriff's 
rope," muttered he, quite in his old manner, "but I swear 
that if thou canst get me a weapon " 

"Here is a little dagger," said Friar Tuck, pulling it out 
from under his gown. ; 'Tis small, but to-morrow it may be 
of use. I can do no more now; but be ready for us to-morrow, 
when the last moments are come. Robin Hood will not easily 
let you die, be sure of it." 

The friar, after he had left the prison, ran all the way to 
Barnesdale, under the stars. 



IT was hardly dawn when a strong guard of soldiers was 
drawn up without Nottingham Castle, and the prisoner 
was dragged forth from his cell. Monceux had wisely 
come to the conclusion that Sir Guy of Gisborne had also 
failed, and he saw no reason to delay Little John's execution. 

Early as was the hour, yet both the Sheriff and the Bishop 
of Hereford were present. The space before the castle was 
thronged with people. Beside the prisoner walked the castle 

The crowd swayed and roared, and a small disturbance 
broke out on the right of the Sheriff. At once the soldiers 
hurried to quell it. 

As the prisoner neared the gallows, the crowd so bore upon 
the cart in which he stood upright that progress for a few 
minutes was out of all question. 

Another disturbance broke out in the rear of the procession. 
Next instant the prisoner was seen to have free hands. He 
stooped and sliced the cords about his feet, and, releasing him 
self, all at once he sprang out of the cart. 

Then was an uproar indeed. The soldiers had strict orders 
that the episode of Stuteley's escape was not to be repeated. 
But whilst they exerted themselves desperately a sudden hail 
of arrows fell upon them from the sky, as it were. Robin 
Hood's horn was heard blowing merrily, and the Sheriff saw 
the huge mob of people break up into billows of contending 
portions under his very eyes. 



"Lock the gates of the city," screamed Carfax, at this 
juncture. "We have them trapped at last." 

Little John was free and had seized an axe. Much and 
Middle had brought bags of meal with them, and both repeated 
the miller's old trick of flinging the white meal into the eyes 
of the enemy. 

Robin had broken up his band into small parties, and all 
were engaged simultaneously. 

In less time than it takes to tell, the space without the 
castle was turned to pandemonium. 

Again and again Robin's horn sounded, calling them to 
gether, and slowly but surely his small parties formed up into 
a whole, beating their way through the crowd with their 
swords and axes. So soon as they were together, with Little 
John safely in the middle of them, they fell to their bows and 
sped a cloud of arrows amongst the Sheriff's men. 

Then they turned to retreat, and fell back so suddenly 
that they had made good start ere Monceux had divined their 
intent. They sped towards the north gate, that one being 
nearest to Barnesdale. 

Crafty Carfax had forestalled them, however. The north 
gate was closed hard and fast, and the bridge drawn. 

The outlaws doubled on their track and charged at their 
pursuers with lowered pikes and waving axes. The crowd 
before them yielded sullenly and allowed them passage. 

"To the west gate, Robin, hasten," cried a shrill voice. 
'Tis more easily opened than the rest, and the bridge is 
down someone hath smashed the winch." 

Robin's heart leaped in his body 'twas the voice of Gil- 



bert of Blois! "Marian," breathed he, overcome with terror 
for her, "oh, my dearest!*' 

"Follow, follow!" she cried, with flashing eyes; "there is 
not a moment to be lost." 

Robin saw that it was a matter of life or death now in 
any case. "To the west gate!" he called, "Locksley! a 

It was the old battle cry, and only a few of them remem 
bered it. Yet it served and served well. The greenwood 
men formed up into close ranks, and all followed the little page, 
shouting lustily, "Locksley! a Locksley!" 

In the rush and hurry Robin saw that Scarlett was there, 
and Warrenton and Allan-a-Dale. And with the little page 
ran another, a fair-haired boy, with strangely familiar face. 

"'Tis Fennel," whispered Allan, at Robin's side. "She 
would not be left." 

He spoke as they ran, with the enemy now in full pursuit 
of them. Every now and again the outlaws turned and sped 
a hail of arrows into the mob behind them. 

The west bridge was gained, and Scarlett had dispossessed 
the warder of his keys in a moment. He unlocked the gates 
and flung them wide open. 

The two boys for so they seemed raced through and 
over the broken bridge, and Allan followed next. The out 
laws were soon free of the town, and once more in their own 
element, but Little John must needs go back to cover the re 
treat with Stuteley. 

Carfax and the Sheriff were close at hand with their men, 

furious and determined. Even as the last of Robin's men 



gained and fell over the bridge, Little John was wounded 
seriously by a shaft from Simeon Carfax's bow. 

His cry brought Robin back to his side. In a moment 
Robin's arms were about him. "Lean on my shoulder, dear 
heart," cried Robin, and sure 'twas a ludicrous sight to see 
this stripling seeking to hold up the great form of Little John. 

They ran along in this way, and the outlaws formed a 
bodyguard about them. Allan and those in front had fired 
the dry furze and grasses, and the smoke began to roll heavily 
against the faces of the soldiers. 

This gave the greenwood men a small advantage, and they 
gained the open country; but not for long did the honors of 
this day rest on one side or the other. The Sheriff and his 
fellows broke through the fire; and then it was seen that some 
of them were mounted on fleet horses. 

Little John begged to be left behind; and again did Robin 
try to rally him. Onward they ran; and presently found 
themselves approaching a hill, thickly wooded about the base. 

They gained cover of these trees, and turned at bay. 
Hidden behind tree-trunks they sent forth a death volume of 
peacock-shafts to the Sheriff. Master Carfax was seen to 
fall, and with him six of the horsemen. 

The soldiers halted and prepared their crossbows. A 
volley of their arrows crashed and splintered the trees, whilst 
Carfax rose up stiffly to give fresh orders. A duello com 
menced of longbow against crossbow; and as the free-booters 
could deliver near a dozen shafts to each bolt, they more than 
held their own. 

When a bolt did strike, however, death was instant. A 



man was shot near to Marian, and fell with his head shattered 
and ghastly. She gave a little scream, and put her hands over 
her eyes. 

Robin bade her keep near to him "Behind me, sweet 
heart," cried he, feverishly, "that naught may hurt you save 
through me." 

So they fought for near an hour; and then the greenwood 
men saw that reinforcements were coming to their enemies. 
Robin's horn gave once more the order for retreat. 

Slowly they fell back through the woods and up the rising 
ground. "Alas, alas!" cried poor Mistress Fennel, wringing 
her hands in utter forgetfulness that now she was dressed as 
a man. "We are undone! Here come others to meet us, 
with pikes and many men!" 

Robin saw that upon the hill-top there was a grey castle. 
From its open gate there poured out a motley crowd of men 
armed rudely with pikes and with staves. They rushed down 
ward to intercept the outlaws as it seemed, and Robin thought 
that, in truth, he and his merry men were trapped at last. 

But oh, joyful sight! foremost among those coming 
from the castle was the once mournful knight Sir Richard of 
the Lee. He was smiling now and very excited. "A Hood! 
a Hood!" he cried. "To the rescue. A Hood!" 

Never was there more welcome sight and hearing than this. 
Without a word the outlaws raced up to meet their timely 
friends, and gained shelter of the castle, whilst Sir Richard 
kept the Sheriff and his fellows at bay. Then, when all were 
safely across the little drawbridge, the knight gave the word, 

and fell back upon his stronghold also. The bridge was drawn 



and the gates clashed together, almost in the frantic, hideous 
face of Master Simeon, upon whose features showed streaks of 
blood from his wound and rage commingled. 

The knight stationed his men about the walls. Soon ap 
peared Monceux beneath them alone, and demanding speech. 
He commanded the knight to deliver up Robin and his men 
upon pain of assault and burning of the castle with fire. 

Sir Richard replied briefly. "Show me your warrant, 
Sir Malapert, and I will consider it," he said, from within the 
gates. And Master Monceux had no warrant with him. 

"My word is enough for you, Richard of the Lee," roared 
he, furiously. "Am I not Sheriff of Nottingham?" 

''You cannot be the Sheriff of Nottingham, good man," 
answered the knight, getting ready to close the wicket, "for 
he is Master Monceux, and is busy escorting the Princess 
of Aragon towards York. Go to and mend your manners, 
rascal, and call away these ruffians with you." 

Then Sir Richard snapped to the wicket gate, and returned 
to Robin. "Well met, bold Robin," he cried, taking him by 
both hands. "Well met, indeed. I had intended to ride 
forth this very day to your home in the woods, to pay you your 
moneys with my thanks added thereto; but you have happily 
saved me and mine the journey. Welcome to my castle, 
recovered to me by your generosity." 

Sir Richard presented his wife to Robin, and his son, who 
had but just returned from the Holy Land. The knight told 
him how the last few months had been most prosperous with 
him, instead of going so badly as he had "feared; and explained 



That evening, whilst Monceux raged and stormed without, 
they all sat to a great feast 


that now, from one source and another, he was as rich as of 
yore. "So when we have feasted I will take you to my trea 
sury, and there count you out thy money and its interest faith 
fully. Yet in ridding myself of this debt I do not free my life 
of the obligation." 

"You need say no more, Sir Richard,'* interposed Robin. 
: 'Tis we who owe all to you. As for your debt, why, it hath 
been repaid me already by my lord of Hereford. Is it not so, 

The little esquire protested solemnly that the Bishop had 
paid it to them as conscience-money. "Then I will pay it 
again," cried the knight, cheerfully, "sooner than be outdone 
by a Bishop in the matter of honesty; and I have a few pres 
ents for you, but these I will show you later." 

Robin thanked him gratefully, and, taking him on one side, 
told how boy's clothes were covering Mistress Marian and 
Dame Fennel at this instant. Would the knight's wife take 
charge of them, and find them some apparel as would ease one 
of them at least from most uneasy feelings? 

That evening, whilst Monceux raged and stormed without, 
they all sat to a great feast. Little John was already so much 
recovered of his wound as to sing them a song, whilst Robin 
made sweet accompaniment upon a harp. 

The knight showed Robin presently his treasury, and again 
implored him to take the four hundred pieces of gold, if he 
would take no interest. But his guest was firm: "Keep the 
money, for it is your own. I have but made the Bishop re 
turn to you that which he had first stolen from your hands." 

Sir Richard again expressed his thanks, and now led them 



to his armory. Therein Robin saw, placed apart, a hundred 
strong bows with fine waxen silk strings, and a hundred sheaves 
of arrows. Every shaft was an ell long, and dressed with pea 
cock's feathers and notched with silver. Beside them were a 
hundred suits of red and white livery, finely made and stitched. 
"These are the poor presents we have made for you, Robin," 
said Sir Richard. "Take them from us, with ten thousand 
times their weight in gratitude." 

One of the knight's own men came forward to give a sheaf 
of the arrows into Robin's hand, and, behold, it was Arthur-a- 



A SEARCHING rain continued all that night. They 
well expected to find the Sheriff and his army encamped 
against them on the morrow. 

Strangely enough, the morning showed the countryside 
quiet and peaceful as of old. Monceux and his fellows, if 
there, were well hid indeed nothing might be seen of them. 

From the castle battlements, afar off, mysterious under 
grey opaque morning, lay Nottingham. The old town seemed 
to be yet asleep; but there was plenty of movement within 
its gates for all that. A messenger had come out hastily to 
Monceux, even while he and Carfax had been perfecting de 
tails of the siege which they intended to apply to the knight's 
castle. This man brought the Sheriff news of such moment 
as to cause him to give up the hope of catching Robin without 
another effort. My lord of Hereford had had the news from 
York he had sped it to Monceux: "The King is abroad; 
take care of thyself." 

That was the item even as it had come in to Prince John 
from his cousin Philip of France: "The King is abroad." 

Richard of England, the Lion Heart, he whom all thought 
to be safely out of the country some said in a foreign prison, 
others that he was fighting the paynims in the Holy Land. 
In any case, he had returned, and now all such as the Sheriff 
and the Bishop of Hereford must put their houses in order, 
and say, once and for all, that they would be loyal and faith- 



ful and plot no more with fickle princes behind their true King's 

Sir Richard of the Lee, whose son had so lately come home 
to his father's castle, could, an he had liked, have explained 
much to them. He knew that the King was in England ; for 
had he not but a few hours since, parted from him with a par 
don hi his hand and happiness in his heart? 

Friar Tuck, having been forced to run all night in order 
that he might be able to bring the news as to Little John in 
to Robin, had compensated himself for the loss of his repose 
by lying abed the better part of the next day. Stirring things 
were going forward in the old city of Nottingham, as we know; 
but only at dusk, when all was over and Robin and them all 
were safely lodged in Sir Richard's stronghold, did the worthy 
friar open his little wicket gate and remember him of his 
fasting dogs. 

He fed them and passed the remaining hours of day in 
putting them through their tricks; then, feeling that he had 
well earned a good meal, the friar took out some sumptuous 
fare from his larder and arranged it conveniently upon the 
small wooden bench in his cell. He then lit a taper, as the 
night was at hand, bolted and barred his door, and drew his 
seat close to the promising board. 

He uprolled his eyes, and had commenced a Latin grace, 
when suddenly came interruption unpleasant and alarming. 
One of his dogs began to bark, deeply and resentfully. The 
others followed him in the same note, changing the calm still 
ness of the night into discordant, frenzied clamor. "Now, 



who, in the name of all the saints, cometh here?" exclaimed 
Tuck, wrathfully, proceeding to bundle his supper back into 
the small larder. "May perdition and all the furies grant 
that he may evermore know the pangs of an empty stomach!" 

His pious wishes were rudely interrupted by a loud knock 
ing upon the door of his hermitage. "Open, open!*' cried a 
strident voice. 

"I have no means of helping you, poor traveller," roared 
the friar. " Go your way into Game well, 'tis but a few miles 
hence upon a straight road." 

"I will not stir another yard," said the voice, determinedly; 
"open your door, or I will batter it down with the hilt of my 

The priest then, with anger glowing in his eyes, unbarred 
the door, and flung it open. Before him stood the figure of a 
knight, clad in black armor and with vizor down. 

The Black Knight strode into the friar's cell without wait 
ing for invitation. 

"Have you no supper, brother?" asked the knight, curtly. 
"I must beg a bed of you this night, and fain would refresh 
my body ere I sleep." 

"I have naught but half of mine own supper to offer you," 
replied Tuck; "a little dry bread and a pitcher of water." 

"Methinks I can smell better fare than that, brother;" 
and the Black Knight offered to look into the larder. 

This was more than Tuck could bear, so he caught up his 
staff and flung himself before his guest in a threatening atti 
tude. "Why, then, if you ivill" cried the knight, and he 
struck the priest smartly with the flat of his sword. 



The friar put down his staff. "Now," said he, with mean 
ing, "since you have struck me we will play this game to a fair 
finish. Wherefore, if you are a true knight, give me your 
pledge that you will fight me on to-morrow morn with quarter- 
staff until one of us shall cry 'Enough." 

"With all my soul," cried the knight, readily. "And 
will give more knocks than ever you have given your dogs." 

"One gives and takes," retorted Tuck, sententiously; 
"put up your sword and help me to lay supper, for I am 
passing hungry." 

They spread the supper table between them, and once again 
the friar sat down hopefully. He spoke his grace with unction, 
and was surprised to hear his guest echo the Latin words after 
him. The knight unlaced his helm and took it off. He ap 
peared as a bronzed and bearded man, stern-looking and hand 

They then attacked the venison pasty right valiantly, 
and pledged each other in a cup of wine. The good food and 
comfort warmed them both, and soon they were at a gossip, 
cheerful and astounding. So they passed the time until the 
hour grew late; and both fell asleep together, almost in their 
places, by the despoiled supper table. 

In the morning they breakfasted on the remains, and then 
they washed their faces in the jumping brook. The knight 
told the priest that he had left his companions at Locksley on 
the previous evening. He asked so many questions as to 
Robin Hood and his men that the priest had to fence very 

If the knight had been in a hurry before he seemed now to 



have changed his mind. He said that he would wait for his 
companions, if the priest could bear with him, and Friar Tuck, 
having taken a great liking to this genial traveller, made no 

"I must presently journey forth to visit a poor man who 
lieth on a sick bed," said the friar, thinking of Robin. 

"Mayhap we may travel together?" suggested the knight. 
"I am going, so soon as friends have found me, into Gamewell." 

"I go into Barnesdale," said Tuck, quickly, "which is in 
quite another direction." 

At last the knight said he must go on, with or without his 
fellows, and he took up his sword. The friar then got out two 
quarter-staves, full nine feet long. Without a word he handed 
one to the knight. 

He took it, and eyed the friar whimsically; then, seeing no 
sign of relenting in him, shrugged his shoulders. He put off 
his helm again, and both going out to the little glade by the 
ruined shrine of St. Dunstan, they prepared for a bout with 
the staves. 

For all his plumpness Tuck was no mean opponent at the 
game. He skipped and flourished about and around the 
knight in a surprising way; and gave him at last such a crack 
upon his crown as made the tears start. 

Then the Black Knight struck in mighty wrath, and soon 
the blows of their staves were making the welkin ring. So 
busy they were as to give no heed of the approach of a goodly 
company of men. 

It was Sir Richard of the Lee, with his son and retinue, 
journeying in a roundabout way in order to throw Monceux 



off the scent, and so give Robin a chance to reach his strong 
hold in Barnesdale. Both knights paused in amazement to 
see this furious combat. 

At last the Black Knight brought down his staff with a 
noise like felling timber upon the shoulder of the priest. 
Tuck staggered, and dropped his staff. "Enough, enough," 
he cried; then fell in a heap upon the wet grass. 

The knight flung away his staff and ran to help him. He 
lifted up the priest's head and put it on his knee. Glancing 
up, he espied them all staring at him. "Run, one of you, and 
bring me some water." 

Sir Richard of the Lee started when he heard that voice. 
He turned to his son, but already the young man had doffed 
his helm and was filling it with water from the brook. He 
brought it quickly to the Black Knight, and, offering it, 
kneeled before him in deepest respect and affection. 

"I thank you, child," spoke the Black Knight, graciously. 
"See, this good fellow hath but swooned and already doth 
revive. Are these your men, and this the father who gave his 
all for you?" 

Sir Richard drew nearer and kneeled as his son had done, 
whilst the servitors looked on in strange fear. " Arise, honest 
man," said the Black Knight, with feeling, "I know your 
story, and have pardoned your son. What can I give to you 
to show you how we esteem a man just and faithful, even in 

"Sire," faltered Sir Richard, rising and standing with bared 
head before him. "If I might ask aught of you I would crave 
amnesty for myself and for my men. You will hear ere long 



how we have befriended one Robin Hood, an outlaw of these 
woods. Through his generous help I was able to disencumber 
my estates, and yesterday, seeing him hard pressed, I opened 
my hall to him." 

"I will hear the story," the Black Knight said, briefly, 
"and then I will judge." He turned to Tuck, who now was 
sitting up, and gazing about him in bewildered fashion. 
"Take my hand, brother; let me help you to your feet." 

"Tell me," said the friar, leaning on the knight, after he 
had risen, "was that a bolt from the sky which just now did 
strike me down?" 

"I do fear it was this staff, brother," answered the other, 
smiling, " with my poor arm to guide it. 'Twas an ill-requital 
for your hospitality, and I ask your forgiveness." 

"So small a thing as man's forgiveness of man," spoke 
Tuck, sententiously, "I freely accord to you." He peeped at 
Sir Richard, and recognized him at once as the knight of the 
woeful visage. He made no sign of this knowledge, however. 
"Are these your companions, Sir Knight, of whom you did 
tell me last night?" he asked, indicating the others with a 
wide gesture. 

"Why, yes, and no, brother," replied the knight, whim 
sically. "They are not my companions in a sense, and yet 
I do purpose to make them such forthwith. But come, 'tis 
time for me to be stirring an I would make an end of my quest. 
I will be frank with you, brother. I seek Robin Hood, and 
had hoped that he might be attending you to-day in this very 

The friar put up his hands with an exclamation of horror. 



"I am a lover of peace, Sir Knight, and do not consort with 
such as these." 

"Nay, I think no harm of Master Hood," the knight has 
tened to say, "but I much yearn to see and speak with him." 

"If that be all, and you will come with me," said Tuck, 
scenting a good prey for Robin, "I will undertake to show you 
where these villains say their nightly Mass. I could not live 
long in this wood without knowing somewhat of Master Hood, 
be sure; and matters of religion have perforce my most earnest 

"I will go with you, brother," said the Black Knight. 

The friar led the three to his cell. "Bid all the men return 
to your castle," the Black Knight commanded, loudly, "save 
four of those most to be trusted." Under his breath he bade 
Sir Richard tell his fellows to pretend to disperse, and to follow 
stealthily after their master soon as an hour was gone. 

Friar Tuck had produced some old monkish gowns from 
under a bench. He bade the seven of them put them on, the 
three knights and the four chosen men. "We will attend the 
Mass as brothers of my order, which is Dominican, as you may 
see," explained Tuck, easily. : 'You, Sir Knight of the iron 
wrist, shall wear this dress, which was an abbot's once. I 
would we had a horse for you; it would be more seemly, and 
less like to rouse suspicion." 

Sir Richard said that there were horses with his men in 
plenty; and one was readily obtained for the Black Knight's 
use. The little cavalcade set out for Barnesdale, the friar 
joyfully leading the way. The servitors affected to return to 
Sir Richard's castle, but hid themselves in the bushes instead. 



After going deeper and deeper into the forest they came at 
last to a part of Watling Street, and there was Robin Hood 
with a score of his men. He was watching the road for Mon- 
ceux, having a notion that the Sheriff would try now to take 
them in the rear. 

Recognizing Tuck at once, Robin walked boldly up to 
them. "By your leave, brothers," cried he, taking hold of 
the bridle of the knight's horse and stopping him, "we are poor 
yeomen of the forest, and have no means of support, thanks 
to the tyranny and injustice of the Norman nobles in this land. 
But you abbots and churchmen have both fine churches and 
rents, and plenty of gold without. Wherefore, for charity's 
sake, give us a little of your spending money." 

"We are poor monks, good Master Hood," cried Tuck, 
in a wheedling tone; "I pray you do not stay us. We are 
journeying with all speed to a monastery in Fountain's Dale, 
which we hear hath been deserted by its owners." 

"I can tell you much concerning this very place," 
said Robin. " Give me alms, and I will open my lips to pur 

The pretended abbot spoke now. "I have been journey 
ing, good Master Hood, with the King," said he, in full deep 
voice, " and I have spent the greater part of my moneys. Fifty 
golden pieces is all that I have with me." 

"It is the very sum I would ask of thee, Sir Abbot," said 
Robin, cheerily. 

He took the gold which the other freely offered, and di 
vided it into two even sums. One half he gave to those with 
him, bidding them take it to the treasury, the other he returned 



to the knight. "For thy courtesy, Sir Abbot, keep this gold 
for thine own spending. 'Tis like that you will journey with 
the King again, and need it." 

"I will tell you now," said the pretended abbot, "for I 
see that you are truly Robin Hood, although so small a man, 
that Richard of the Lion Heart is returned to England, and 
hath bid me seek you out. He hath heard much of you, and 
bids you, through me, to come into Nottingham and there 
partake of his hospitality." 

Robin laughed heartily. "That is where we may not 
venture, Sir Abbot, since we value our skins. But where is 
your authority?" 

The knight produced the King's seal from under his abbot's 
gown. Robin looked at it, and fell at once upon his knees. 
"I love a true man," cried he, "and by all hearing my King 
is such an one. Now that he is come to take sovereignty over 
us we may hope for justice, even in Nottingham town. I 
thank you for your tidings, Sir Abbot; and for the love I have 
of valor and all true kingly virtues, I bid you and your fellows 
to sup freely with us under my trystal tree." He then offered 
to lead them into Barnesdale; and the pretended monks, 
after a short discussion, agreed to accept his offer. 

They soon were come before the caves of Barnesdale, and 
were presented to those of the band already there. Presently 
Robin blew two blasts upon his horn, and the rest of the green 
wood men made their appearance. All were dressed in their 
new livery, and carried new bows in their left hands. Each 
one knelt for a moment before Robin, as leader of them, ere 

taking his place. 



A handsome, dark-haired page stood at Robin's right hand, 
to hold his cup for him and pour him wine. The signal was 
given Robin graciously placed the abbot in the place of 
honor; and under the cool fresh evening, bright still with the 
aftermath of the day, the banquet was begun. 

The Black Knight was struck with astonishment. "By 
all the saints," thought he, "this is a wondrous sight. There 
is more obedience shown to this outlaw man than my fellows 
have shown to me." 



A FTER supper Robin signalled to his men to bend their 
/-% bows. The knight was startled, for he thought they 
^ "^ intended to choose him for their target. 

He was quickly undeceived, however, for two arrows were 
set up as butts for these archers. The knight marvelled indeed 
to see so small a mark given in this waning light. A garland 
of leaves was balanced on the top of each arrow, and Robin 
laid down the rules. Whoever failed to speed his shaft through 
this garland and it was to be done without knocking it off 
the arrow was to yield up his own shaft to Robin, and receive 
also buffet from the hand of Friar Tuck. 

"Master," said Stuteley, "that may not be, for the good 
friar is not yet come to confess us this day." He winked his 
eyes at Robin, well knowing that the friar sat near to the other 

"Doubtless he will be here ere the game be ended," replied 
Robin, smiling. "I prithee commence soon as I clap my 

Little John, limping, Stuteley and old Warrenton each flew 
their arrows truly through the garlands, as did many of the 
rest. Poor Midge and Arthur-a-Bland were not so fortunate, 
for though both came near to doing it, the garlands unkindly 
fell off an instant after their shafts had flown through them. 

"Where is the friar?" cried Robin, affecting to peer into 
the distance, already blue-grey with twilight. "Surely he is 
late to-night." 



Then Tuck could bear it no longer, but stood up in his 
place. "Come near to me, thou villainous archers," he 
roared, "and I will buffet you right well." 

"Ah, brother, what are you saying?" cried the knight, 
anxiously. "Surely you forget our vows and our cloth." 

"I forget neither the one nor the other," returned Tuck. 
"But I would be no true man did I submit to watch quietly 
such bungling as these fellows have done. Come hither, 

"You know them you are of this company?" continued 
the knight, as if in alarm. 

"I am very proud to be of it, brother," said the friar. 

"I crave a boon," the knight then said, turning to Robin. 
"This is a little man who will receive the buffets; and though 
I seem a priest, yet am I willing to take the blow instead." 

"If you would care to have a buffet from me," the friar 
cried, "you are most welcome. For though my arm is sore 
still from our play of this morn, I warrant me there is still 
some strength left in it;" and he rolled up his sleeve. 

"Take, then, the first blow," said the knight, "and I 
promise you I will return it you with interest." 

A smile lit up the face of the jolly friar. He turned up 
the sleeve of his cassock still further, and smote the false abbot 
such a blow as would have felled an ox. 

"Thou hittest well, brother," the knight remarked, coolly. 

The friar was amazed to see him withstand such a blow, 
and so was Robin. "Now, 'tis my turn," the knight said; 
and, baring his arm, he dealt Tuck such a blow as to send him 
flat upon his back. 



There was a general laugh at this; but the exertion had 
caused the abbot's cowl to slip away from his head. The 
strong face and light beard of the Black Knight showed plainly 
to them all. "Alas, your majesty," cried Sir Richard of the 
Lee, springing up; "you have betrayed yourself." 

"It is the King!" cried Scarlett, in sheer surprise; and 
reverently he knelt before the Black Knight. Robin glanced 
questioningly towards the greenwood men; then knelt him 
self beside Scarlett. At once the whole company fell upon 
their knees also. 

"My lord King," said Robin, in hushed voice, "I crave 
mercy for my men and for myself. We have not chosen 
this life from any wickedness, but rather have come to it 

The King towered amongst them. "Swear," cried he, in 
clear, loud voice. "Swear that you will forsake your wild 
ways, Robin Fitzooth, and will come with your men into my 
Court, and be good and faithful subjects from this night, and 
I will give you all the pardon that you crave." 

"We will come into your Court and into your service, 
sire," answered Robin, gratefully, "nor ask anything better 
in this world than that." 

The King bade them rise and continue their sports. 
"Night is come and I must ask a lodging of you even as 
your chaplain gave me of his hospitality yester e'en," he said, 
comfortably. "And tell me, Robin, where is your Marian? 
What laggard in love are you to be here without her?" 

"Nay, sire," said the little page, coming forward, "Robin 
is no laggard, nor am I far to seek. He is a very valiant, 



honorable man, and should indeed be a knight of this realm, 
if all men had their deserts." 

Richard smiled then, and bent his haughty head to kiss 
the little hand she had extended to him. "Thou speakest 
truth, lady," he answered. "And I had not forgotten how 
the fair lands of Broadweald once were in Hugh Fitzooth's 
honest keeping. It may be that they will return to his son 
one day, for folks tell me that Guy of Gisborne is no more." 

He turned to Scarlett. "And you are Master Geoffrey 
of Montfichet," said he, fixing his keen eyes on the other's 
face, "son of my father's friend, George Montfichet of Game- 
well? And prithee, Master Geoffrey, what have you done 
with my little cousin, Aimee of Aragon?" 

Scarlett confusedly explained that she was safe in his 
father's hall at Gamewell. "It seemeth, then, that you also 
have stolen from our Sheriff at Nottingham, Master Scarlett?" 
Richard observed, quizzing him. "Surely all men's hands are 
against Monceux!" 

"Even as all men's hands are against venomous reptiles 
and the like," observed the friar, nodding his head. He had 
recovered from the buffet which Richard's hand had dealt, and 
had seated himself conveniently to watch the scene. He was 
truly the one least put about by it. 

The King eyed him, and smiled to note his quiet self- 
possession. "What can I find for you, brother?" he asked, 
indulgently. "Some fat living, where there are no wicked to 
chastise, and where the work is easy and well endowed?" 

"I only wish for peace in this life," replied the friar. 
" Mine is a simple nature, and I care not for the gewgaws and 



shams of Court. Give me a good meal and a cup of the right 
brew, health, and enough for the day, and I ask no more either 
of my God or of my King." 

Richard sighed. "You ask the greatest thing in the world, 
brother contentment. It is not mine to give or to deny. 
Yet if I can help you to find that wondrous jewel, I will do 
it right heartily." He glanced curiously from one to the 
other of the greenwood men. "Which of you is called Allan- 
a-Dale?" he asked; and when Allan had come forward, "So," 
said Richard, halfjsternly, "you are the man who stole a bride 
from her man at my church doors of Plympton. What have 
you to say in excuse of this wickedness?" 

"Only that I loved her, sire, and that she loved me," said 
Allan. "Your Norman baron would have forced her to wed 
with him, desiring her lands." 

"Which since hath been forfeited by my lord of Hereford," 
said Richard, quickly. "J know your story, Allan. Take 
back your lands and hers from me this night, and live in peace 
and loyalty upon them with your dame. Fennel, she is called, 
is't not so? 'Tis a pretty name." 

"I thank you humbly, sire," said Allan-a-Dale, joyfully. 
"And Fennel shall thank you for herself. She will do it far 
better than I, be sure of it." 

"Where is your dame?" said the King, looking about and 
half expecting to find her clad like Marian in boy's attire. 

"She also is at Gamewell," said Sir Richard, hastily. "We 
left her there this morning when on our way to Copmanhurst. 
The Princess will take her into her train, and protect both 
Mistress Fennel and her lord." 



"Our Princess will need a protector for her own self, I 
am thinking," said the King, thoughtfully. "Come hither, 
Scarlett, and kneel before me!" 

Geoffrey wonderingly did so. "Arise, Geoffrey Earl of 
Nottingham," cried Richard, striking his shoulder with the 
flat of his sword; "take back your freedom from my hands, 
and be no more ashamed to attend our Court disguised and 
in false pretence. From this moment you have the over- 
lordship of this forest for your father's sake and mine, and you 
are worthy to ask the hand of any woman in this realm." 

It was impossible not to perceive the King's gracious 
meaning, although Geoffrey could scarce believe in his good 
fortune. He thanked his King in a voice full of gratitude and 
affection. "You did say that the Princess of Aragon might 
need a protector, sire," he added, trembling at his own au 
dacity. "Will you grant me permission to be her champion 
and defy the world?" 

'Tis what I had promised for you, my lord of Notting 
ham," said Richard, quietly, "and best reason for your knight 
hood! Watch well over her, and guard her from herself if 
need be." 

For Much the Miller, for Middle the Tinker, for Little 
John, Stuteley and old Warrenton the King had kindly words. 
He knew them all, it seemed; and they marvelled more and 
more amongst themselves to hear how he was aware of all their 
histories. There was no adventurer, no man of them whom he 
did not know by name and fame, at least; and this King proved 
so gracious and royal a man that all of them loved him forth 
with and dubbed him in their hearts a right worthy monarch. 



They built a great fire, having now no more fear of Monceux 
or Hereford, or any one of them. The Sheriff would hold his 
office from Will Scarlett's hands from now! 

The archers from Nottingham who had been held as 
prisoners were at once released, and the King signalled for 
Sir Richard's followers to appear. This they did with a rush, 
and Robin saw then how the King had held them all truly in 
his hand, for these fellows, and even Sir Richard of the Lee, 
their master, would have had to obey him had he ordered them 
to engage the greenwood men in sudden combat. 

As it was, all were merry and boon companions. Laughter 
and song floated upward as the jumping flames of the camp fire 
they had built. The friar sang them the song which Robin 
had heard so often, and Robin himself played upon the harp. 
Night came and they slept King of England and his subjects 
together, in all joy and happiness. The fire burned low, and 
deep Sherwood watched over them forest mother of them 

Next morning the King asked if they had any spare liveries 
of the scarlet and white. "For," said he, " 'tis only fair that 
I should lead you into the city of Nottingham clad as you are 
yourselves, since now you are my bodyguard." 

So Nottingham awoke to find a great company of men ap 
proaching it. Foremost came a number of archers dressed all 
in bright liveries and carrying their bows unslung in token 
of peace. Behind them marched a motley host the servitors 
of Sir Richard and of old George of Gamewell, and last of all 
the Sheriff's own archers. 



Monceux came out to meet them with Master Simeon, 
whilst my lord of Hereford watched furtively from the city 
walls. The chief of the approaching host rode forward, and 
his stern, dark face was plain to see. 

" 'Tis the King!" cried Carfax, who knew Richard well. 
"Now may our tongues be politic and say the right words." 

"Go to meet him, Simeon," whispered the Sheriff, all in a 
flutter of fear and hope. ; 'Tis like that he hath encountered 
Sir Richard of the Lee, and so will know his story of things. 
Be prudent, be humble." 

But Richard waved Carfax haughtily aside. " I will speak 
with your master, fellow," he said, harshly. Carfax shrank 
cringingly to one side, and Monceux dismounted from his 
milk-white horse to meet his King. 

" Greetings and welcome, sire, from this your faithful city," 
began Monceux, very hurriedly. "The joyful tidings of your 
return were brought to me two days agone, and at once I did 
prepare for your coming." 

"With a-hanging to wit, and murderous attack upon the 
castle of this faithful knight," said Richard. "A welcome 
not much to our mind, Sheriff." 

" Sire, when the hanging was going forward I did not then 
know you were so near," explained Monceux, making matters 
worse. "And, for the matter of that, 'twas for foul murder 
that I would have hanged the villain, who did escape through 
your knight's evil practices. Thereby I do accuse Sir Richard 
of offending against the laws." 

"Enough, Master Monceux," interrupted the King, con 
temptuously. "The murder was not done by the man whose 



life you did seek so earnestly to end. The killing of Fitz- 
walter, my warden of these gates, was due to the foul hands of 
your own cook, Roger de Burgh. As you have stomach for a 
hanging, see to it that this fellow be brought to book. Know 
you this writing?" 

And Richard showed him the parchment which Will Scar 
lett had found in the hearth of the hall at Nottingham Castle. 

Monceux turned green and white, and gasped for air. "I 
had no hand in this dreadful business, sire, I swear it," he 
gurgled. "We did conspire between us to entice the maid 
Fitzwalter into Nottingham, I confess, hoping that Robin 
Hood, the outlaw, would come to visit her, and we might so 
trap him. He hath been the author of this mischief, I promise 
you, and is a villainous wretch. If Roger killed Master Fitz- 
water, 'twas done in the belief that he was engaged with Hood." 

"As I thought," muttered the new Earl of Nottingham, 
under his breath. 

"Therefore," said Richard, slowly, "you, Monceux, knew 
all along that Little John was not guilty, and yet did seek to 
hang him." 

"Sire, he stole my plate also, and had been excommuni 
cated by my lord of Hereford." 

"Take Roger and hang him speedily," cried the King, to 
end it. "And bring me to the Bishop. Stay!" he called to 
the quickly retreating Sheriff; "ere you go, Monceux, learn 
that from henceforward you must look for patronage from 
this my lord of Nottingham," he added, with a gesture. "He 
will be your master, and you will hold the feof of Nottingham 
Castle at his hands." 



"Will Scarlett Master Geoffrey of Montfichet you?" 
gasped Monceux. 

"Even I, Master Sheriff," replied the man of many names. 

"Know also, Monceux," added Richard, indicating Robin 
and his men, "these are my archers and especial guards. From 
now the ban of excommunication must be removed." 

The Bishop had come down from the walls and had drawn 
nigh. "Fetch me book and candle, Carfax," said he, "and I 
will remove the ban." 

"You will be wise to do so, my lord," the King said, sig 
nificantly. The Bishop deemed it prudent to give no par 
ticular heed to his sire's tone. At once he proceeded to take 
off the ban of excommunication he had so hastily pronounced 
upon Robin Hood and the rest of his merry men. 

" Now, Robin, take payment for your entertainment of me 
in the woods," the King said, in a voice that would brook no 
denial. Robin drew near and kneeled before him, doubt 
fully. "Rise, Robin of Huntingdon, first Earl of the shire!" 
cried Richard, tapping him with the point of his blade. " Take 
rank amongst my knights, and learn that thy King recognizeth 
above the other neither Saxon nor Norman of his subjects 
all to me are English; and I love the man who is brave and 
who dealeth fairly as he may with his fellow men. You have 
kept the spirit of liberty alive in this my land, and I hold no anger 
against you because you have been impatient under wrong." 

His proud voice was silent; while Robin Earl of Hunting 
don seized his King's hand to his lips and kissed it in a wonder 
ment of gratitude. 



IT was the wedding-day of four happy people. The day 
was bright, the sky blue, and Sherwood had taken upon 
itself early summer raiment. 

The old church of Nottingham was already crowded to 

The newly banded guard of Royal bowmen, gay in their 
scarlet and white livery, were formed up in two straight lines 
from the church door to the lych gate. 

So soon as the weddings were over all would go back to a 
great feast, given at Gamewell Hall, in honor of the day. Then 
afterward the two couples would go with the king into London, 
to be followed within seven days by the rest of the Royal guard. 
Richard meant to employ these fellows shrewdly and test their 
loyalty. Not for reasons of sentiment only had he forgiven 
Robin and his men. 

The hour was reached, and at once a small company was 
seen issuing forth from Nottingham Castle. Against his will 
Master Monceux had given use of the castle to the two bride 
grooms the newly made Earls of Nottingham and Hunt 

With Robin and Geoffrey were, firstly, old George of Game- 
well, proud above all others in knowing that he had now a son 
who would ensure honor to the race of Montfichet all their 
days. The Squire was happy and radiant. He walked be- 



tween them, and turned his head ever and again in laughing 
speech with Sir Richard of the Lee and his heir. Stuteley 
and Little John were next, the long and short of it; and after 
them the jovial Friar of Copmanhurst. Arthur-a-Bland, 
with a gold chain about his neck, given him by the knight Sir 
Richard, walked with Middle the Tinker on his left and Much 
the Miller on his right. Close behind trotted the small com 
plaisant Midge, dressed up very fine in a livery of purple 
doublet and green hose. 

They came to the lych gate, and the crowd jostled itself 
in its admiration. As they walked, rather consciously, up 
the narrow path between the smiling ranks of their fellows the 
crowd cheered them radiantly. 

"A Hood! A Montfichet!" was called and called again. 
Some maids from the opposite windows threw them kisses and 
waved pretty kerchiefs in their honor. 

Within the church, waiting for them soberly at the chancel 
steps, was my lord of Hereford, dressed out in his finest and 
richest robes, and beside him Friar Tuck. For Robin Hood 
and Will Scarlett the Bishop had enmity and contempt, but 
towards the Earls of Huntingdon and Nottingham this time 
serving man could only profess an abundance of respect. 

The brides were to be escorted from Gamewell by no other 
person than the King himself. He was to give them both in 
marriage, and had promised them jewels and to spare when 
they were come to Court. 

Loud cheering and noise from the mob without the church 
told of their approach. The people were wild with joy at 
having their King amongst them like this. 


Citizens, burgesses, apprentices were all in their best, their 
wives and their sweethearts all dressed out in splendid attire. 
As the King jumped down from his horse before the lych gate, 
and held out his strong hand to help the brides from off their 
milk-white mares, the whole place became alive with excite 
ment and rapture. 

Little maids, with baskets of violets and primroses, flung 
their offerings prettily under the feet of the two beauteous 
blushing brides, who leaned so timidly upon the King's proud 

At last the service was begun and both couples were well 
nigh wed. The Bishop had spoken the Latin service impres 
sively and with unction. 

In the first row stood Monceux, in all the pomp of his 
shrievalty, with his councilmen and aldermen. Master 
Simeon, with face leaner than ever and inturning eyes, glared 
impotently at the chief actors in this historic scene. 

Alone missing from it was the cold, colorless beauty of the 
demoiselle Marie. She had taken herself to her room this 
morn, and had sworn never to leave it again. But now that 
the double marriage was nearly made she suddenly appeared, 
thrusting her way rudely through the gathered crowd at the 
church door. She was wild-eyed, dishevelled, her dress 
fastened all awry. Folks looked once at her, and then ex 
changed glances between themselves. 

"Stay this mockery of marriage, my lord," she cried, 
fiercely facing the Bishop. She had elbowed a path for her 
self to the chancel steps. "I do forbid the marrying of these 
two." She pointed a trembling finger from Robin to Marian. 



"This woman is blood-guilty, and Holy Church may not 
countenance her." She shrilled, desperately, ' ; 'Twas she who 
foully killed Master Fitzwalter, her own father, and I have 
proof of it!" 

'Tis false!" roared Robin, then beside himself. "You 
viper you mean-souled spy ! Is no crime too great for you? " 

"There is no need for defence," spoke the King; "the 
charge is too wild and foolish an one. Seize this woman, 
some of you, and take her without. I will deal with her later." 
He imperiously signed to his guards, and at once the demoiselle 
was gripped harshly by both arms. 

"Be gentle with her," pleaded Marian; "she is distraught, 
and hath not command upon herself. I beg of you, sire, to 
forgive this; I have no quarrel with Mistress Monceux." 

The demoiselle had suddenly become quiet under the fierce 
hands of Much and Little John. She allowed them to thrust 
her ignominiously forth. At the door of the church she turned 
once as though to renew her preposterous charges, but con 
tented herself merely with a single glance towards them of 
malignant hate. Then she was gone; and people stirred them 
selves uneasily, as folks do when having been within touch of 
the plague. 

The Sheriff had stared with protruding eyes of horror and 
dismay upon his daughter. When he saw that she was gone, 
that the dreadful episode was done, he gasped hurriedly and 
sat down. His mind became confused, his vision obscured 
as by a cloud. The service was finished. Robin and Marian, 
Geoffrey and Aimee (no longer of Aragon) were joined to 
gether for the rest of their lives. The Bishop pronounced a 



blessing; and forgetting himself utterly in the emotion of the 
moment, spoke fervently and with purpose. 

The King kissed the brides, and after him their husbands 
kissed them also. Then all signed their names in the church 
books, and the trumpeters and heralds made music for them. 

They returned through the streets of Nottingham, gay now 
with flags and merry with a joyful populace. Loud cheerings 
rent the air, and people showered flowers and blessings upon 
them. Before the happy couples ran six of the greenwood 
men, loyal subjects now, flinging largesse upon the people 
right and left from out of well-filled bags. All the treasure 
that they had accumulated in their caves at Barnesdale the 
King's bowmen freely distributed this day. All were happy 
the nightmare of unjust dealings, of Norman oppression, of 
laws for the poor and none for the rich, was ended. The King 
had said it, and the King had already made good the promise 
in his words. 

Afterward, at Gamewell, Richard conferred upon Mont- 
fichet full rank as Baron of the Realm, with power to speak 
and vote in the Upper Court of Appeal, the highest rank in 
the land, next to the King himself. Sir Richard of the Lee 
and his son became members of the Star Chamber, with grants 
of land in perpetuity. 

Turning to Marian, the King wished her every joy that 
she could wish herself, and gave to her the lands of Broadweald 
in Lancashire to hold in her own right for ever. "Thus you 
shall have wealth to share with your Robin; and I counsel 
you both to make good use of your days. My subjects who 
are loyal to me shall have no cause to regret it. I will give you, 




Aimee, the Castle of Acquitaine, which I held under my 

father's grant until his death. You know how fair a spot it is, 
and how sweet the sky of France! Help her to administer 
her riches, Geoffrey, wisely and well; and be you all ready 
when I shall call upon you. Now God save you all. Amen." 



IN all sincerity there should be no more of this tale, see 
ing that we have found ourselves at last come from be 
ginning to end of Robin's quarrelings with the Sheriff. 
Most histories end, and end properly, with just such a marriage 
as we have seen. 

Yet, to tell the truth, however strange and distressful, is 
the business of a good historian; and so it must be written that 
in the end of it sad days came again for Robin Hood. For 
five years he lived in peace and prosperity, a faithful, loyal 
subject, having two sons born to him in his home in Broad- 
weald. Then came the plague, raging and furious, and claimed 
amongst many victims Marian Countess of Huntingdon. 

For a time Robin was as one distraught. He had no joy 
left to him. He was as one without energy or hope; a miser 
robbed of his gold, suddenly and cruelly. He gave his two 
boys into the charge of Geoffrey of Nottingham, and went 
on a journey to London, there to beg of the King that he 
might find him active employment, instead of being but one 
of a guard of honor, as he and his men had so truly become. 

Richard had already gone to France, and John was acting 
as Regent of England in his absence. " Go, shoot some more 
of my brother's deer," sneered the Prince, having heard Robin 
impatiently. "Doubtless if you do but slay enough of them 
he will make you Privy Councillor at the least when he re 



This great insult fired Robin's blood; he had been in a 
strange distemper ever since the fatal day of his beloved's 
death. He answered the disdainful Prince scornfully; and 
John, growing white with anger, bade his guards to seize upon 

Faithful Stuteley helped his master to win freedom from the 
prison into which he had been flung; and, with the majority 
of his men, Robin returned to the greenwood life. The King's 
guard was broken up, for the King had no need of it, nor never 
would again. 

Legends are told of Robin's scorned defiance of the laws, 
but they are intangible and unauthentic. It is a sure thing, 
howbeit, that he did not revert to Sherwood and Barnesdale 
as some aver, but rather took up his quarters near Haddon 
Hall, in Derbyshire. There is a curious pile of stones and 
rocks shown to this day as the ruins of Robin's Castle, where 
the bold outlaw is believed to have lived and defied his ene 
mies for a year at least. Two stones stand higher than the 
others. These are supposed to be the seats in the hall of this 
vanished stronghold whereon Robin and Little John sat de 
livering judgment on matters of forest law. 

Another chronicle gives these stones as being the scene 
of a wondrous leap done by Robin, to show his men that 
strength and will were his yet. "Robin Hood's stride," folks 

One thing is sure that Prince John did not easily forgive 
or forget him. After many attempts made upon them at 
Haddon some desperate enough in all conscience, Robin and 
his men were allowed to be at peace. In one of these en- 



counters Robin was sorely wounded; and none but Little 
John knew of it. 

The wound was in Robin's breast, and looked but a small 
place. It bled little, yet would not heal; and slowly became 
inflamed in wider circles. Inwardly it burned him as with a 
consuming fire, his strength was sapped out from him and his 
eyes began to lose their shrewdness. No longer could he split 
an arrow at forty paces, as in olden days. 

At last he took Little John on one side. "Dear heart," 
said he, "I do not feel able to shoot another arrow, and soon 
the rest will know I am stricken sore. I have it in me to re 
turn to London and there give myself to the Prince. Mayhap 
if I did this he would give you all amnesty here." 

"Sooner would I see you dead than you should do such 
a thing," cried Little John; "I swear it by my soul and 
by my body! Now listen, dear master, and I will tell you 
that I have heard of a wondrous cure for thee. An old 
beggar came this morn through the woods, and, strangely, 
when he spied me, asked if there was not one amongst us ill 
and hopeless." 

"This beggar where is he?" 

"He waits below," said Little John, hurriedly. "I be 
thought me to talk with Stuteley on the matter. The beggar 
told me that the Abbess of Kirklees had stayed him as he was 
travelling past her Priory: 'Go to Haddon, brother, and there 
you will find Robin Hood sick unto death. Say that in the 
woods near by there is one who is practising magic upon him, 
having made a little image of Robin Hood. At each change of 
the moon this rascal doth stick a needle into the waxen heart 



of this image, and so doth Robin slowly die. Tell him that 
the name of the man is Simeon Carfax." 

"Ay, by my soul, but I thought as much. What villainy! 
What foul villainy! Get me a horse, John, and one each for 
thyself and Stuteley." 

The beggar had gone when they went to the hall. None 
had offered to stay him. "Let us go quietly, swiftly," said 
Robin, "for I feel that my hours are short." 

They rode all through the day and night, and came upon 
the Priory in early dawn a quaint, strange building, sur 
rounded by heavy trees. 

The journey and fierce excitement told upon Robin. His 
wound was beating red-hot irons into his heart; hardly could 
they get him from his horse to the gate of Kirklees. 

Stuteley rang the bell loudly, and anon the door was 
opened by a woman shrouded in black. She spoke in a cold 
low voice. "Is this Robin Earl of Huntingdon?" asked she. 
" I pray God that it may be true, for at this moment the wizard 
is meditating his very death." 

"Tell us where this miscreant doth make his sorcery, good 
mother," cried Stuteley and Little John together, "and not all 
the magic in the world shall save him from our swords!" 

"Go out yonder to the left, where ye will find a little 
stream; near by it is a tree blasted by Heaven's fires. Under 
the tree is the man Carfax* I have watched and known him 
for many days. Go quickly, and I will tend your master. 
See, already he swoons the hour is very nigh!" 

The two men gave Robin into her keeping, with a fury of 

* Carfax was then actually in France, acting against Richard. 



impatience; then, with brandished swords, ran swiftly in 
search of the wizard. Robin had swooned, and lay a dead 
weight in the arms of the Prioress. 

With amazing strength and tenderness she lifted his slight 
body and bore it to a little room, near to the entrance of the 
Priory. She laid the unconscious man upon a couch, then 
hastily bared his right arm. 

She paused an instant to throw back her hood; then 
taking the scissors of her chatelaine, suddenly and resolutely 
gashed the great artery in his arm. He gave a cry of pain 
and started up. "Be still, be still," she muttered, soothing 
him. "The pain is naught, it will cure thee lie back and 
sleep sleep." 

"Who are you?" he asked, feebly, and with swimming 
eyes. Then blackness came upon him again, and he fell back 
upon the couch. Out of the night of pain the cold face of the 
demoiselle Marie smiled mockingly at him ! 

She raised herself and softly withdrew. As she locked the 
door upon him she smiled thinly, wickedly. "So, Robin 
at last, Robin," she murmured, "I am avenged." 

Two hours later Little John returned. Behind him was 
Stuteley, anxious and ashamed. They had found a man in 
the woods, and had killed him instantly, in their blind rage, 
only to discover then that he was but a yeoman, and not him 
whom they sought. 

"I did hear my master's horn, mother," cried Little John, 
when the Prioress had opened the wicket to them. "Three 
blasts it gave." 

; 'Twas the wind in the trees," said she, serenely. "He 



Leaning heavily against Little John 's sobbing breast, Robin flood flew his 
last arrow out through the window, far away into the deep green of trees. 


sleeps." She prepared to close the wicket quietly. "Dis 
turb him not." 

But Little John was alarmed and began to fear a trap. 
With his sword he hewed and hacked at the stout oak door, 
whilst Stuteley sought to prise it open. 

When it yielded they rushed in upon a sorry scene. Robin 
lay by the window in a pool of blood, his face very white. 

"A boon, a boon!" cried Little John, with the tears stream 
ing from his eyes. "Let me slay this wretch and burn her 
body in the ruins of this place." 

His master answered him with a voice from the grave: 
" 'Twas always my part never to hurt a woman, John. I will 
not let you do so now. Look to my wishes, both of you. 
Marian's grave it is to be kept well and honorably. And 
my two sons but Geoffrey will care for them. For me, dear 
hearts, bury me near by, in some quiet grave. I could not 
bear another journey." 

They sought to lift him up. "Give me my bow," said 
Robin, suddenly, "and a good true shaft." He took them 
from Stuteley 's shaking hands, and, leaning heavily against 
Little John's sobbing breast, Robin Hood flew his last arrow 
out through the window, far away into the deep green of the 

A swift remembrance lit up the dying man's face. "Ah, 
well," he cried, "Will o' th' Green you knew! Marian, my 
heart . . . and that day when first we met, beside the 
fallen deer! And she is gone, and my last arrow is flown. 

. . . It is the end, Will " He fell back into Little John's 

arms. "Bury me, gossips," he murmured, faintly, "where 



my arrow hath fallen. There lay a green sod under my head 
and another beneath my feet, and let my bow be at my side." 

His voice became presently silent, as though something 
had snapped within him. His head dropped gently upon 
Little John's shoulder. 

"He sleeps," whispered Stuteley, again and again, trying 
to make himself believe it was so. "He is asleep, Little John 
let us lay him quietly upon his bed." 

So died Robin Fitzooth, first Earl of Huntingdon, under 
treacherous hands. Near by Kirklees Abbey they laid to his 
last rest this bravest of all brave men the most fearless cham 
pion of freedom that the land had ever known. 

Robin Hood is dead, and no man can say truly where his 
grave may be. At the least it but holds his bones. His 
name lives in our ballads, our history, our hearts so long as 
the English tongue is known.